By Onyinyechi Kanu

One of the Commissioner nominees in Imo State, Dr. Vin Udokwu and the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Hon Uche Onyeagocha, who represented the Governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, on Saturday, August 3, 2019, have commended management and staff of St. Mary’s Children and Community Hospital on the launching of their 2019 International Hospital Mission Expo.

The event featured the commissioning of their ultra modern eye and physiotherapy centre, exposure of the vision 2025 plan, which gears towards the search for ways to stop medical tourism by improving the facilities in the hospital, unveiling of the multifarious medical equipment and the dialysis/ICU centre in one fell swoop.

In his separate speech, the former Commissioner for Health, who is also one of the board members of St. Mary’s Children and Community hospital, Dr. Vin Udokwu, said that SMCCH is not just a primary health care, unit or centre but that the three aspects of health care are combined, and there is no type of surgery carried out anywhere in the world, that is not done in the hospital. “If the expertise is not here, they will go out to fish the expertise to come here and perform it, and by the Grace of God, those who go for such surgeries come out successfully”, he stated.

He thanked the founder of the hospital, Rev. Fr. Dr Sergius Duru, for his efforts and hard work in making sure that the hospital is where it is today. He added that, if peradventure he becomes the commissioner for Health in Imo State, he shall beckon on him and other of “our sons and daughters” in the diaspora, who are grounded in knowledge of medical practices to partner with Imo state government and medical tourism abroad”.

The Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Hon. Uche Onyeagocha in his statement on behalf of the Governor, said that the Government of Ihedioha is prepared and determined to be accountable to the people and such accountability will begin with ensuring that our medical facilities are in good shape.

He thanked the founder of the hospital, Rev. Fr. (Dr) Serguis Duru, for the good work he is doing in the hospital and urged him to start asking questions with authority, on what the Governor has been doing, where has our money budgeted for health care services been spent because he has shown that if individual can do something like this, the government can do much better.

He promised that their request from the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, to construct roads for easy access to the hospital will be looked into, stating that “His Excellency is not following the foot step of his predecessor, who diverted l the allocation meant for the development of local government areas”.

Continuing, Hon. Onyeagocha said that, he is impressed with everything he saw in the SMCCH. “I am impressed with your plan, the blocks, the corridors, the hall ways, the level of cleanliness and the hygienic standard. And quite impressive that the hospital has gotten some dialysis equipment and various intensive care monitoring equipments waiting to be installed because of lack of accommodation. He confessed that St. Mary’s children and community hospital is beyond primary facility health centre. It’s secondary as well tertiary health facility centre”, he stated.

He called on our rich sons and daughters, who are not necessarily Europeans to come and contribute their quota, so that we can get it right, so as to stop our wealthy men from flying abroad for health care services that can be obtained locally.

He said that the government of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, is committed to primary health care, secondary health care and tertiary health care in Imo State and assured that “we will not let you down, but always pray for us”.

The founder of St. Mary’s Children and Community Hospital, Rev. Fr. (Dr) Sergius Duru, in his welcome address stated that, “the hospital is our health apostolate programme for our community and beyond”. According to him, “St. Mary’s Children and Community Hospital was conceived as a children’s hospital, but because we could not just set up a hospital in a rural setting only for children, it was made available for everyone around the community, who had health issues”. Continuing, he further disclosed that the hospital began as a little dispensation clinic, but now, “our ambition is not only to cure just malaria and other local diseases. Hence unveiling our vision 2025, which was also launched today, is our search for ways to stop medical tourism by improving the facilities in the hospital”.

He further stated that since it’s inauguration in 2013, “our hospital has excelled in providing comprehensive multi specialist hospital services in the zone and beyond, established a comprehensive, fully equipped eye care centre and functional eye care equipments and facilities and best equipped physiotherapy and fitness centre, which have been commissioned today”.

He then thanked their friends from Germany, Switzerland and Australia for their support and also for helping in the donation of many hospital equipment, some of which have been installed and are in use, “while some are waiting for installation due to lack of adequate accommodation”. He appealed to the government of Imo State, to help the hospital by constructing the access road to the hospital to enable patients from all parts of the South Eastern states and beyond, to seek medical care there.

Other people that spoke at the occasion includes His Royal Highness, Eze M.C Duruigbo, Igbonenye IV of Umuowa, Chief Emma Ebere (FPSN, FPCPharm, MNIM) Chairman, Board of Management SMCCH, Dr. Obi Onukogu, Medical Director SMCCH, the President, Umuowa Progressive Union, Barr. Chidi Nwuke.

Events featured during the occasion include the commissioning of the ultra modern eye centre and rehabilitation centre, laying of the foundation stone of the dialysis/ICU centre, inspection of the 2019 medical mission equipment, unveiling of the wall of honours, commissioning of the senior staff quarters, etc.