By EZEKIEL DONTINNA
It was the only hope and a viable life-saving alternative that responses promptly to emergency health cases of communities around the area. When the most sensitive departments of St. Vigilius Memorial Hospital Namu, on the 22nd of August this year caugh fire, drugs and hospital equipment worth millions of Naira were destroyed.
Established in 1983 by St. John-Bosco Catholic Parish Namu, with the primary aim of providing medical solutions to the surrounding Communities in Qua’an-Pan LGA of Plateau State, considering the topography and how accessible it should be, the hospital was deliberately sited some 57km away from the local government headquarters to take care of that axis.
In its thirty- six years (36yrs) of operation, the hospital has coutinued to fare very well, accommodating averagely, not less than 30-40 patients at a time with very few referral cases to either Shendam General Hospital or that of Lafia in Nasarawa State respectively.
To mention but the least is how successful delivery cases were carried out without any reported cases of complications. Pregnant mothers register for antenatal services in this hospital and are monitored to delivery period. It was truly a life-saving centre for the young and old, men and women at most affordable cost.
It was a grey day when this valuable asset was consumed by an ugly fire incident which changed the status of the hospital. It was gathered that the incident started as an electric spark from hospital solar system which exploded the solar battery. This resulted to an uncontrollable flame that destroyed drugs stored at the Pharmacy Department leaving no drugs recovered.
Other departments affected include the Scanning Room, the Delivery room, where all expectant mothers put to bed, the Accident and Emergency Room, the Data and Card room as well as some wards in that order. Although, no life was lost, but the detrimental effect on this hospital and the benefitting communities is what is of grave concern.
Infact, this is really a great setback to them, now that they are left with no option than to resort to distant alternative, more so that, it was glaring that a total demolition and reconstruction of the affected departments must be carried out. This is because the walls of these departments cracked due to the intense heat caused by the inferno.
This, no doubt, would not only hamper the immediate return of activities in the hospital, but would grossly affect the purpose it was meant to achieve. Therefore, there is the need for swift intervention if the plight of these communities is anything important to government, their representatives, sons and daughters of Plateau State.
However, we must commend the swift action taken by the Senator; representing Plateau South Senatorial Zone in the National Assembly, Sen. Ignatius Datong Longjan. On receiving the sad news, he immediately swung into action by rushing to the scene of the disaster to assess the level of damage therein.
Putting aside all assignments before him in Abuja, the Senator, knowing how important this hospital is to his people, rushed from Jos and by 8:30am, he was already on his way to the headquarters of Qua’an-Pan LGA, in Baap, where he met the council chairman, Hon. Isaac Kyale Kwallu, to register his sympathy and proceeded to Namu.
While there, Sen. Longjan was received by the Catholic Parish Priest of St. John-Bosco Namu, Rev. Fr. Mathew Chanshilip, and taken round the affected departments as he was briefed by the Hospital Administrator, Rev, Sr. Janet Waziri. He was seen going from one room to another not minding how risky it was to enter a burnt down structure with sharp objects in place and which can easily collapse.
One could sense it from how sad he was, as he went round. Possibly, he was carried away by the thought of how the hospital has been of help to his people before and the way forward now. It is certain that, the true taste of one’s leadership quality is in his resolve to cry the cry of the common man.In his words, the Senator said, “Now with this disaster, there is nothing left for them. So, we just have to put our heads together and see how to rebuild the hospital so that, it can come back to how it was. That is just the only way out. It is an appeal and I am not saying as an individual, I will do it, but collectively we can do it.
“It is affecting everybody, the hospital is for everybody and it is not for a particular Catholic or whoever, no! We thank God that there is no serious casualty. So, we have to bring it back to how it was, otherwise, where do they go? Therefore, when the management are able to come together and come out with something, we will all put our heads together to see how we can solve this problem and rebuild the hospital,” he assured.
To state it straight, this is truly life-saving situation that requires all and sundry to extend their helping hands to this hospital. We know for sure that when it falls into the ears of His Excellency, the Governor of Plateau State, Dr. Simon Bako Lalong, he will not hesitate but order for the reconstruction of hospital, which other spirited sons and daughters would team up to equip the hospital.
Similarly, the Senator used the opportunity to sympathize with the people of Shendam Local Government Area that same day, over the flood disaster that destroyed farmlands in five different communities. His first point of call was at the Local Government Secretariat, Shendam, where he was also received by the council’s Deputy Chairman, Hon. William Titlong
While at the Council’s Secretariat, Logjan was presented a report of a Committee set up by the chairman, Hon. Alexander Naantuam, to assess the level of damage amounting to over 70 million naira, which he promised to look into it and see what they would together do to cushion the hardship this might cause their people.
There is no denying the fact that, the accessibility of a leader to his followership would afford him the opportunity to know where is leaking, even if it means one cannot shoulder it all but proffer solution through collective effort. Senator Longjan, has demonstrated that quality and needs the support of his people to be able pick that which his hand can reach for the development of the constituency
Meanwhile, he could not reach the five communities to sympathize with them due to time constraint which most of it was consumed in areas he visited. The only communities he was able to reach were Kalong village, where he was received by the village head Miskoom Gabriel Sallah.
On his way back to Jos at about 4-5pm, he decided to a pay visit to the District Head of Dokan Tofa, HRH James Langkwap, to sympathize with him and his people over the flood incident too.
The District Head showered accolades on the Senator, describing him as a man of integrity who has demonstrated uncommon leadership quality which they have not seen for a longtime in this dispensation after voting in their representatives.
Langkwap, however appealed to Senator Longjang to please consider the engagement or enrolment of their youths in any of the Para-military jobs, because they have not benefited from any such. He prayed that God would give him the will to help their youths.
The Senator later retired back to Jos with first class information about what happened in his constituency and would be able to assess every issue accordingly. The journey he started at 8:30 in the morning saw his return back home at 9: pm. But we are sure he was satisfied by the fact that he had carried out his obligation promptly.