‘We Have Repositioned LUTH For Better Health Care Delivery’

•Professor Akin Osibogun

•Professor Akin Osibogun

In this interview with TUNDE OGUNDELE and KOLAWOLE ONILEOWO, Professor Akin Osibogun recalls some unprecedented medical feats that etched LUTH on the world map 

•Professor Akin Osibogun
•Professor Akin Osibogun

What was on ground in terms of facilities at LUTH when you became CMD and how did you improve on them?

Lagos University Teaching Hospital was established in 1962 and metamorphosised to what was known then as the Mainland General Hospital following the Ashby reports where a decision was reached to establish Lagos University Medical School. Initially there was only 300 bed-space and as at 1962, there was no obstetrics and gynaecology department in the hospital. But over the years, the hospital has grown from 300 beds in 1962 to 760 beds in 2006 when I became the CMD. I must commend the efforts of the founding fathers of LUTH and sister institution, University of Lagos. However, over the years, it has grown to become a giant medical institution, comparing only to the best around the world having produced the best and brightest medical practitioners in Nigeria and having inculcated in its products, standards that other teaching hospitals have to emulate. It has contributed a large number of specialists to the pool of specialists in the field of medicine in Nigeria. LUTH is also involved in the training of medical personnel – Nurses, Laboratory Technologists, Pharmacists and Medical Social Workers. Apart from Medical School, we have a School of Nursing and over the years, we have established other schools – the School of Laboratory Science, School of Midwifery, School of Medical Social Workers, School of Health Information Management and very recently, we established the School of Basic Dental Surgery. Shortly, the School of Biomedical Engineering will be added to the list.

LUTH has fulfilled its triple mandate of human capital development for Nigeria and service provision for the patients who need specialist care and we have been involved in research. No doubt, as the institution ages, there is every possibility that its facilities will also be aged. As at 2006, this hospital needed re-injection of capital. Fortunately, the hospital benefited from Federal Government and Vamed programme, in which the hospital was able to acquire a battery of new and modern equipment. I quickly operationalised these equipment  One major equipment that came at that time was Linear Accelerator. It is radiotherapy equipment and from 2007 till date, this equipment has been serving many parts of the country with regards to radiotherapy patients, such that our out-patient attendance increased rapidly from 170,000 to 230,000 per annum. In 2005/2006 we could only carry surgery on 1,000 patients but today we carry out over 5,000 surgeries yearly and about 100 surgeries in a week. Neo-natal cases in this hospital is encouraging in the reduction of infant mortality rate in the country and the neo-natal incubators in the hospital have increased to 44, the highest one can find in any hospital in Nigeria. It is not surprising that in 2011, we took the delivery of four sets of quadruplets and around December 2011, we took delivery of five babies from a mother. This was the first time in the history of hospitals in Nigeria such delivery would take place and only LUTH can broach this feat because all the five are alive. This is telling of the level of facilities and capability available in this hospital.

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What were your priorities as MD?

Before I came in as the Chief Medical Director, I had been in the system for some time. Having had my undergraduate programme here as a medical student and my resident training at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, then as a lecturer and professor in LUTH, one had a rough idea of what the problems were. Having understood the problem, you have to define for yourself certain objectives. We selected which areas are were going to concentrate on and one of the areas that we chose to concentrate on was to quickly re-establish the Teaching Hospital as the leading centre for cancer cure. Fortunately, the linear accelerator was provided by the Federal Government. We made sure that with regards to cure in this country, LUTH becomes a force to reckon with and faithfully, we have kept the linear accelerator working for the past seven years and it has been on generator for those years; it is so sensitive that we do not use public electricity supply. Obviously one can see that it is a challenge.

Another area which is our priority is neo-natal care and starting from non-functioning incubators in 2006, we quickly mapped out strategy for acquiring and refurbishing an increased number of incubators in the hospital. LUTH became a referral centre on neo-natal care; patients are referred to us from all parts of Lagos. That was another area of quality which we selected for ourselves. And with the support of government, we have increased the number of paediatric beds in this Hospital from the initial 100 to about 180 now, and government is supporting us to put up a new emergency paediatric building. By the end of this year, we shall have about 280 paediatric beds. Therefore, our chosen area of quality is to increase our capability in caring for children, which is in line with Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda with regards to human capital.

Also we observed quite a number of Nigerians are coming down with kidney problem which requires renal dialysis and at times it requires renal transplantation. LUTH started renal dialysis in the 1980s. We intensified efforts in the direction, increased our dialysis machines such that we can carry out dialysis on eight patients at once. Before I came it was done in the daytime, but now it is 24-hour service. We decided to go beyond dialysis. We pursued the programme of renal transplanting aggressively; we sent the full gamut of the team required to carry out renal transplantation out of the country to receive training and we did our first renal transplanting in July 2011 and the patient is doing well. LUTH remains a key player in human capital development and a centre to reckon with, with regards to production of specialists in different areas of medicine. Our School of Nursing is doing exceedingly well, winning prizes and laurels.

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