National Hospital, Abuja
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Medicine / Health
The Hospital was originally designed to cater for the needs of women and children in Nigeria and the West African sub-region with a view to reduce morbidity and mortality rates, and to carry out extensive research into the peculiar causes of women and children- related diseases in Africa.
After the recruitment of manpower from home and abroad, the Hospital commenced operations on 1 September 1999.
However, in order for the vast majority of Nigerians to benefit from the services and modern equipment in the Hospital, the scope of its operation was expanded to accomodate male patients. Initially christened 'National Hospital For Women And Children', the National Hospital, Abuja' came into effect from 10 May 2000.
The Physical structure was constructed by the Arab Contractors and later by Julius Berger[Nigeria] Plc, whilst the medical equipment was supplied and installed by Philips Projects (B.V.).
Phase 1 of the Hospital contains 200 beds, but the centre has facilities for future expansion to 500 beds. A residential estate, with acilliary facilities, has been put in place for the benefit of staff and this provides accomodation for about 120 members of staff and their families.
The original concept of an apex tertiary health facility for women came from President Shehu Shagari in 1981. He constituted a 15-member committee of experts on women’s health headed by the then president of the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists of Nigeria (SOGON), to “initiate and encourage the training of all health workers whose primary duty is to deal with the physical and mental wellbeing of our mothers”. This initial effort went to sleep until the former First Lady Hajia Mariam Abacha resuscitated it after the popular Beijing Conference of 1995 that brought the health and wellbeing of women and children to the fore at global level. Through the office of the First Lady and her pet project of Family Support Programme (FSP), she incorporated FSP Trust Fund, which raised money and built the National Hospital for Women and Children (NHWC) within 10 months. The Hospital was commissioned by then Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar on May 22, 1999 a week to the birth of democracy in Nigeria.
The Hospital was meant to be a unique healthcare institution providing a comprehensive care for women and children. It was a masterpiece in idea and execution right from inception, the very best in the layout, finishing and equipment. Built by M/S Julius Berger, Nigeria and fitted with the top of the rank of biomedical equipment by Philips Medical Services, Netherlands.
But in 1998 everything happened so fast to the Hospital following the sudden end of that military era and therefore the end of Family Support Programme (FSP) of the then First Lady and its Trust Fund.
The Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) took over all the Assets and the Liabilities of the FSP including the young NHWC with the coming of the new Democracy in May 1999 and that explains why the Hospital came to be under the supervision of the Presidency.
Public, Private Partnership as a government policy, privatization of some government-owned institutions and the effects of a new democracy did not spare the NHWC; subsequent recruitments after the very initial one of hospital staff had to allow for national spread and other interests. Specialist consultants, resident doctors, senior and junior general duty doctors were employed.
The original thrust of a NHWC was changed and men forced themselves into the equation. This change is however justifiable going by the sophisticated facilities available in the hospital and nowhere else with similar things for men in the country.
In 2002, government decided to enter into a contractual management service agreement that brought in the IHG Ltd, UK to run the Hospital. A draft bill was sent by the Attorney General of the Federation, which provides for a change of name of the Hospital to the NATIONAL HOSPITAL, ABUJA and the reconstitution of the membership
of the new Governing Board of the Hospital to accommodate this new management agreement entered into with the expatriate professional Hospital managers. This bill is yet to be concluded.
This Management Service Agreement was terminated by government in June 2004. That was after about one and a half years, by which time it was obvious that government was not going to get the desired aim of making the Hospital run well as a flagship of the medical institutions in Nigeria.
We make bold to say with a sense of responsibility (and without being immodest) that National Hospital, Abuja has been making good progress by objective criteria