Eleme in Diaspora and medical hospitality at home



Sons and daughters of Eleme in Rivers state but based in the US recently donated medical equipment to their community back home in order to boost the health facilities in the area. GODWIN EGBA writes on the state of the hospital prior to the intervention and thereafter.

Thursday a fortnight ago would remain memorable for the people of Eleme local government area of Rivers state as their only general hospital took delivery of assorted hospital equipment worth over $10 million donated by their USA based association under the aegis of Ofalarun Eleme USA Inc.

Prior to the intervention

Hitherto, the Nchia Eleme General Hospital had been in a deplorable state suffering from unmitigated dilapidation orchestrated by overgrown weeds that swallowed up the complex, a non-functional power plant with the management begging for connection to the national grid, general lack of efficient health facilities for delivery as well as accident/ mortuary management and other basic primary health medical services.

It is however important to  point-out here though that the government of Governor Nyesom Wike recently embarked on holistic renovation of the hospital.

Regretably, it’s the common people – pregnant women, children, among others, that bear the brunt of these inefficient basic medical services in this hospital. Consequently, private providers of health services operating in Eleme make huge profits by their cut-throat charges to the helpless individuals who seek for their medical attention.

It’s this pathetic condition  playing out at the hospital that moved the humane Eleme-USA based association to respond to the cry of their people back home with several donations of health facilities to the hospital in order to step up its medical service to the people and the general public.  

When the intervention started

The association did not only respond to the health need of their home based Eleme people on their January visit but also empowered a 22- old widow with some undisclosed amount of money as well as showering over 200 gift items on Ekporo displaced indigent children.

The executive president of Ofalarun Eleme USA Inc. Chief Obarichinwi Joseph, led his group to the hospital for the presentation of health equipment to the hospital management and the distribution of cash and gift items. The association was accompanied by their foreign partners, Arlington Assemblies of God Church, Virginia, USA and International Aid Trust, a US based humanitarian organisation.

Chief Joseph said the consignment of medical equipment (a container load) and other gift items worth millions of dollars were specified for the use and benefit of Eleme people, other Nigerians resident in Eleme and Nigerians in general.

He recalled that this January visit and donation were not their first time as the association had earlier delivered a consignment of medical equipment in January 2017 and October 2018 to the same hospital situated in Ogale community in Eleme.

The Ofalarun president also noted that the group had in 2015 and 2016 sponsored medical equipment worth over ₦2.5m which were delivered to the management of the same hospital.   

He said, “I have to state here that we are determined to ensure that the people of Eleme, our fatherland, get the best healthcare that is available in other parts of the western world.”

He pointed out that this effort could not be achieved alone without collaborating with their home-based people, foreign partners, and support from Elano Investments Limited, a Port Harcourt-based firm, stressing that the association would appreciate if the administration of Governor Wike keys into the programme and give Ofalarun more access to run the Eleme General Hospital.

The association president also pointed out some development challenges confronting Eleme land as a commercial and industrial hub in the country which include high rate of insecurity, cultism and kidnapping that have ravaged the area in recent times while urging the government and security agencies to rise up to the challenges and put an end to the happenings.

He also decried rising unemployment among Eleme youths living in the industrial hub of over 200 multinational companies while also pleading with the managements of those companies to carry out their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) as provided by law.

Joseph also called on the state government to release funds for proper resettlement of Ekporo community people sacked from their home land following a bloody conflict with their neighbouring Ogu community over 10 years ago.

Earlier in his remarks, the chairman, board of directors, Elano Investment Limited, Chief Gomba Okanje, lauded  Ofalarun group for its humanitarian gesture especially in the area of healthcare for Eleme people, pointing out that the community is blessed with its hospitable and peaceful people despite security challenges.

Okanje’s said, “We appreciate what our Eleme people in the Diaspora are doing by responding to the critical health need of our people back home here. Elano has decided to partner with our Eleme people in Diaspora to develop our land. All we are doing is to develop our land, Elano is supporting the progress being made by the sitting Governor, Nyesom Wike.”

The Elano chief executive officer whose profile and name are synonymous with socio-economic development in Eleme land assured that, “From time to time, we can assure our people that Eleme is going for higher development and more greater things would come to the hospital,” he said.

In his emotion-laddened remarks, the board chairman of Ofalarun Eleme USA Inc. Mr Promise Gomba recalled, “This hospital had suffered neglect in the past. In 2001, my mother died and her corpse was deposited in the hospital mortuary which lacked modern facilities. I didn’t like its sorry state. So what we the Ofalarun body is doing is to tell our people that we must not wait for the government to do everything. We are concerned about the good health of our people, so I urge others to key into or replicate our effort,” he solicited.

Appreciation

The medical director of the Hospital, Dr Chu Amejima, who was on ground to receive the equipment expressed appreciation for the kind gesture and the laudable contribution by Elano Investment Limited, noting that most general hospitals in the state lack the type of quality equipment Nchia General Hospital is privileged to have now courtesy of Ofalarun Eleme USA Inc.

Dr Chu who was excited with the donation identified the equipment as electrically operated delivery beds and electrical wheel chairs among other items that are electrically operated.

However, a cross-section of stakeholders who spoke with Blueprint commended the gesture, but expressed fear that the hospital management would have to contend with security of those equipment due to high rate of security challenges in Eleme area.

They also noted that the electrically- operated gadgets would not be useful until the hospital is provided or equipped with functional power plant and to see that it is connected to the national grid, lamenting that the hospital and its facilities had suffered unmitigated neglect and rot.

Blueprint observed that the hospital has worn a new look following renovation, provision of internal roads and painting of the complex. The hospital built in the late 70s and designed to accommodate 60-80 patients beds is still a cramp space for delivery and an old mortuary laddened with abandoned or unclaimed corpses.

According to a member of staff who pleaded anonymity, “For now, the mortuary is filled with some unknown corpses, some deposited by the police and no mortuary attendant. What the Ofalarun Eleme USA Inc is doing is to complement the responsibility of the government to ensure quality health delivery to the people. We pray the Eleme General Hospital recovers its lost glory,” the staff said.

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