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Vanguard (Nigeria): Shell upgrades 27 hospitals in six N-Delta states

By George Onah
Posted to the Web: Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Port Harcourt—IN a renewed effort at reducing maternal and childhood mortality and morbidity the Shell Petroleum Development Company has embarked on major turn around maintenance and upgrading of 27 health facilities in the six Niger Delta states.

The rehabilitation and provision of health care infrastructure is part of the company’s community health care scheme which involves cottage hospitals and health centres and other medical outlets.

Disclosing the development at the commissioning of the Obio Health Centre, Rumuobiakani, Obio/Akpor Council, Rivers State, Community Health Manager of SPDC, Dr. Babatunde Fakunle said part of the objectives of the repositioning aims at giving improved standard of living to the people. Fakunle said the joint venture of NNPC, Agip, Elf and Shell, also focuses at the provision of sustainable essential health care by highly motivated health care providers working in a conducive environment. Again, it aims at improving quality of health care to Obio and surrounding communities.

In breaking down the spread of the 27 facilities across the region, he said Rivers State alone has eight, which include four cottage hospitals and four health centres with Obio as a beneficiary of the health centres.

Although the state government has pledged to upgrade the centre to a general hospital, Fakunle said SPDC had a pleasant history of contribution to Obio health centre, which dates back to 2005.

Fakunle said, “A situational analysis of the entire health facilities in the region showed that Obio, with a viability index of 50, ranked as one of the busiest and most useful health centres. However, ageing equipment and inadequate space hampered the operations of the centre, hence the intervention of SPDC.

Consequently, he said, “In line with our corporate social responsibilities and support for local and state governments in improving the quality of life of the people through the provision of quality-assured health care infrastructure and systems, SPDC took the current action of development of hospitals.”

On his part, the Paramount Ruler of Rumuobiokani HRH Eze Samuel Ejims-Wopara Eze Ize Agwu 11 said “today, in the benefiting communities nearly more than 60 per cent of the patients cannot pay for their medical bills after seeing a doctor or having medical treatment.

How many can afford the proverbial three square meals daily. Many hospitals cannot replace their worn out equipments due to the state of the economy, high mortality rate is an issue. The unemployment rate has not helped the situation; hence, this gesture by SPDC could not have come at a better time.”

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