Donald Duke's Hospital Closes Shop


For reasons attributed to mismanagement, the Women and Children Hospital owned by former Cross River State governor, Mr Donald Duke, has shut down and sources claim it is not likely to open in the near future.

The highbrow hospital which was commissioned in 2009, two years after Duke left office, is located on the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) building along the Murtala Mohammed Highway closed to the Ebrutu Barracks.

Headed by Dr Joseph Ana, a British trained gynecologist who served as the Commissioner for Health during Duke’s second tenure,, the hospital was a major centre for the treatment of infants and women like gynaecological issues, antenatal and post-natal needs.

When P.M.NEWS visited the place Monday afternoon, the place looked desolate and forsaken as three female cleaners and two receptionists were the only staff chatting away even as the environment still bore marks of cleanliness and good tending.

The Cameroonian medical doctor, Dr George Gay, employed by Duke as the overseer of the place has since relocated to his private hospital along Spring Road.

“Dr Gay just left here to his hospital at Spring Road and we are not sure when he is coming back,” one of the staff who prefers anonymity told P.M.NEWS.

According to her, it is not known when the expansive hospital that occupies the imposing structure will reopen.

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“There are six beds per ward and there are many wards; I cannot tell you the number now because they are many and I am not prepared to go up now to count them.”

She said Onari Duke, wife to Mr Donald Duke, visited the place along with her husband some weeks ago and were apparently “not satisfied with what they saw and ordered the staff be laid off while the patients are discharged and the place closed down to give room for restructuring and we do not know how long the restructuring will take.”

She could neither confirm if the staff was paid before they were laid off “but some of the medical doctors went to Lagos to apply for work there and I believe some of them were successful because we have not heard from them since they left.”

The acquisition of the former NRC property by the former governor for the hospital was subject of litigation as many people in the state were displeased by the acquisition and one human rights lawyer, Obono Obla took Duke to court seeking to stop the acquisition of the place by the former governor.

During the commissioning ceremony, there was a standoff between the police deployed on the instruction of the state government to stop the commissioning and those employed by the Dukes. It took the intervention of the then Inspector General of Police, Ogbonaya Onovo to forestall bloodshed.

Efforts to get to Dr Ana were unsuccessful as his mobile phone was switched off when P.M.NEWS called him. Messages placed on the line were not replied.

By Emma Una/Calabar

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