“Even the lion has to defend himself against flies”
It is common knowledge that the CoronaVirus pandemic (Covid-19) started in Wuhan, China. It is equally common knowledge that before the world could understand the pandemic to be vexatious, life and death, and a strangler of economic and social life, the virus blitzkrieg, like water, pervaded the whole world. Preventive/containment reactions by some countries were swift, decisive and precise. For Nigeria, initial bureaucratic pussy-footing on preventive/containment measures like border closures led to the index case of covid-19 in February, 2020.
It is again common knowledge that all the states in Nigeria have recorded cases of Covid-19 except Cross River State, which is questionable. The virus has equally claimed the deaths of the strong, the powerful, the professional, the artisan and the hoi-polloi.Covid-19 is classless and a leveler. Covid-19 is without shame. Even some ecclesiastical authorities have attributed it as a plague from God due to man’s iniquities. But, is it really an act of God? Biologically engineered? Or a happenstance? Only time will tell.
Further, Covid-19 revealed the decayed and weak system of health institutions and delivery systems in all the 36 states of the federation. It brought to the front burner issues of underfunding to the health sector, low remuneration to heath workers, unprofessionalism among them, and exposed some medical directors of health institutions, hospitals and the like as bureaucratic juveniles. Again, some health workers performed excellently and are still excellently performing. Infact, call to duty has galvanized the true professional doctors and nurses to form defense lines against the pandemic for public safety- from health deliveries to copious health information accessing the social/traditional media. The mind set (of the bulwarks) has been that “the attack tames the beast”.
From the statistics of the National Center for Disease Control, Coronavirus Covid-19 Microsite (https://covid-19.ncdc.gov.ng) of Tuesday, 30 June 2020, Abia State recorded 302 number of cases confirmed by laboratory test, 92 cases on admission, 207 discharged cases and three recorded deaths.
Also, it is strongly upheld that without the doggedness of the frontline health workers, the federal government and the state governments, the prediction of WHO and Melinda Gates of Covid-19 corpses littering the streets of Africa, in particular Nigeria(Abia State) would have been a reality. Against the expectations of the nay sayers due tothe staccato functioning health system in the country and Abia State in particular, frontline health workers in the mould of Dr. Azubuike Onyebuchi, and the like fought / still fighting with the tenacious spirit of Trojans and resilience of Spartans to treat, contain the spread, educate, instruct and set the agenda on Covid-19. Dr. Azubuike is part of the Covid-19 bulwarks in Abia State. He is the professional “who attends to business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market”.
“Annoy your doctor and sickness comes laughing”
This is a Zimbabwean proverb that glorifies the fundamentals of doctors to a healthy society. Even the Bible in Jeremiah 8:22 underscores the importance of health physicians thus, “is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored? Dr. Azubuike Onyebuchi, Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical, Center, Umuahia is one of those true-to- type medical practitioners resident and plying his trade in Umuahia, Abia State. Application of Immaculate Conception to him is not tenable. However, based on his astuteness in medical practice and administration, Dr. Azubuike has earned a pride of place when revisionist historians will look toward Federal Medical Center, Umuahia. History will be kind to him because successive dysfunctional and rouge administrative leaderships in yonder-years de-escalated the growth of FMC, Umuahia. Simply put, in FMC, Umuahia as at going to press, it has Panadol, Syringes, Gloves, Cotton-wools, running water, steady electricity, spick and spin environment, courteous health workers and the like. It is upheld that these simple services/provisions taken for granted are non-existent in some teaching hospitals, health centers and government owned hospitals in Nigeria. Reference the The Cable of August 18, 2017 as reported by Sodiq Yusuf that “this might give you some headache; the clinic for Nigeria’s seat of power does not have the commonest of medications, Paracetamol… And cotton wool? The patient has to buy from outside. Syringes? Not available” (paras.1-2).
Against this background that is symptomatic of a good number of health institutions/centers, the regeneration of FMC, Umuahia and placing it in a pole position to serve as a bulwark against Covid-19 pandemic in the State under the watch of Dr. Azubuike confirms the saying that “ if you wish to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today”.
“However far a stream flows, it never forgets its origins”
Born in the same hospital where he is currently the Chief Medical Director 49 years ago to the family of Chief Sir and Lady Micah Onyebuchi of Amuzukwu Ibeku, Afarata Autonomous Community in Umuahia North, Abia State, Dr. Azubuike is “one case of happiness that has scattered a thousand sorrows”to his family and society.
“A river doesn’t run straightbecause there was nobody to advice it”
Dr. Azubuike’s academic encounter was a straight course of excellence by doing the right thing at the right time. First, his primary school encounter was at School Road Model Primary School; his secondary school was at Federal Government Collage, Okigwe; while his university education encounter in the college of medicine was at the famous premier University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Dr. Azubuike after graduation did his compulsory Housemanship and National Youth Service Corps. After which, he proceeded to do his residency at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital where he earned a Fellowship of the West African Surgeon in the Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynecology. According to the CMD “ever since then I have worked as a lecturer and honorary consultant at both Ebonyi State University, Faculty of Clinical Medicine and Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakilike and it was from there that President Mohammed Buhari appointed me as the Medical Director of Federal Medical Center, Umuahia”.
Dr. Azubike’s choice of profession was partly imbued because of his passion to serve humanity, parental guidance at his formative years and partly to Late Doc. J.O.J Okezie, First Republic Minister of Health’s influence. Late Doc. J.O.J Okezie took him as a son, played the role of a model and the CMD decided to become a professional prototype.
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past”.
Dr. Azubuike has changed the unpalatable narratives, tales, deflections, fabrications and hubris spins that characterized some shambolic administrations of yester years in FMC, Umuahia. His administration is an inflection point in development and has reinforced the Biblical saying in Philippians 2:4 “not looking to your own interest but each of you to the interest of the others”.
In specificities, the following achievements under Dr. Azubuike Onyebuchi as CMD, Federal Medical Center Umuahia are Verifiable:
- Construction of a novel entrance gate edified with lustrous concrete sculpture proudly proclaiming the logotype of Federal Medical Center, Umuahia.
- Renovation of the untended Antenatal, Post-natal, New-born and the old Isolation Center Wards to decent habitability.
- Successfully facilitated the construction of a brand new Physiotherapy complex sited at the old Accident and Emergency Ward.
- Renovation of the dilapidated Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)/ Dental buildingto standard usability.
- Face-lifting of the decrepit Community Medicine Department to effective functionality.
- Rebuilding of the fence located at the main entrance gate of FMC.
- On going 1.5 kilometer road construction inside the Federal Medical Center (from Children’s Clinic, Antenatal, Postnatal and Kirk Wards toArt Clinic / the back of Isolation Ward)
- Procurement of a 500KVA Marapco brand new power generator and the refurbishment of the old 400 and 250 KVA power generating sets into functionality. It is of importance to note that there is constant supply of electricity in Federal Medical Center,Umuahia. This is an accomplishment within the context of past administrations andprevalences in some other public health institutions.
- Ongoing novel construction of a – 100 – bed- Isolation Ward structure for the treatment of Corona virus patients and other viral diseases. It is noted that this project was embarked by a group of professional Abians in diaspora who believe in the integrity and professionalism of Dr. Azubuike as the CMD.
- Facilitated the construction of a-model-2- storey residential structure that will accommodate 30 house officers (intern doctors)
- On gong construction of a-two-storey ultra-modern Accident/Emergency Structure that contains operating theaters, intensive care units, CT scan sections and offices for doctors and nurses.
- Prototype plan for the construction of befitting accommodation for residential doctors.
One can only say like inphilosophy (res ipsa loquitur) the thing speaks for itself. As an administrator with prudence and bravado, Dr. Azubuike has engendered fairness and just as against hatred and humiliation that were indexes of some expired administrations that glorified hubris.
In mode of relationships that engenders industrial harmony or disruption,it is instructive to note the sentiments of the President of the Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Emeka Felix Onuh on Azubuike’s administration:
I can assure that a good number of our members feel at home with him. He has attended to a number of our concerns and went as far as settling some liabilities he inherited from the last administration. He runs an open door policy. For the first time in a long while you can actually pay the office of the Chief Executive without much hassles. I think my members are at home with his style of leadership.
Dr. Azubuike is a respected, responsible/ responsive family man (the spouse is equally a Radiologist at Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki) and a Christian.The CMD believes in Psalm 75:6 – for promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south… Promotion or Exaltation comes from God.With the far-reaching changes in the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia under the watch of Dr. Azubuike Onyebuchi, as the Chief Medical Director, patients can now behave like“ the Cock drinking water, raises its head to God in thanksfulness”.
Last line: this is a serialized personality feature on Covid-19 Bulwarks in Abia State — (to be continued).