A young nurse who dreamt of building a hospital on his own for his deprived region has done it so big everybody is gripped with awe— including friends who, as he kept talking about his ‘impossible’ dream, had concluded he probably needed his head checked for “psychosis”.
The rare feat— a medic at age 34 years providing a fully furnished hospital with 120 beds and a surgical theatre— has drawn applause from many public figures in the Upper East region, among them the King of the Kusaug Kingdom, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, who delegated chiefs from Bawku to the commissioning ceremony of the facility, the Azimbe Memorial Hospital, at Atuba in the Binduri District.
“The hospital that has been built here is by a native of this place. In the past, when we were commissioning such projects, they were constructed either by government or NGOs. Today, we are witnessing a difference. A son of the land has thought it wise to put up this building. We applaud him; more grease to his elbows,” remarked the leader of the palace delegation, Naba Akuolug Thomas Abilla.
He added: “This project has been strategically located. This area hasn’t got a facility of this kind nearby. The nearest place where you can get a hospital for proper healthcare is in Bawku, about 15 miles away. Imagine somebody who falls seriously ill in the night— how does he get to Bawku? Or a pregnant woman is struggling to deliver— how does she get to Bawku? The facility is now at our doorsteps.”
The nurse, Emmanuel Abugri Azimbe, who would share his success secrets with the media after the commissioning ceremony, also owns some medical laboratories across the region in addition to a maternity home in the regional capital, Bolgatanga.
Care for Staff and Patients will Sustain Hospital— Bawku Naba
The paramount chief, in his keynote advice to the hospital, underscored the need for management to motivate its staff and for the staff also to treat their patients well so the facility could stay fresh and relevant.
“It’s one thing providing a facility and another thing ensuring that it endures, that it progresses, that it actually serves the interest of the people for a long time. It shouldn’t be a nine days’ wonder. This depends on quality of service. The persons who work here should be well paid and should have the interest of the people at heart. They shouldn’t be lazy.
“If a patient comes here and he’s not attended to for a long time, next time he will not come. When he goes back, he will discredit the place. But if he comes and gets proper treatment, more and more patients will flock in and the place will flourish. This demands proper training of staff, good care for the staff and the staff should in turn take proper care of patients. This is how the health [facility] will grow. These are the points Bawku Naba wants me to convey,” said Naba Abilla.
Calls intensify for Early Referrals after Deaths of 44 Pregnant Women
Some 44 pregnant women lost their lives in the Upper East region in 2017 partly owing to late referrals, according to the Upper East Regional Quality Assurance Coordinator, Damien Amoah, who represented the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Wilfred Ofosu, at the event.
“As [of] the end of last year, the region did not fare well when it came to the issue of maternal mortality. The year ended with a total of about 44 cases. We all believe no woman should die whilst giving birth.
“And it should be the responsibility of all of us to make sure that no woman dies whilst she is giving birth. And this would be complemented if we do proper referral of cases. Cases that come here and you know ideally that you cannot handle, please, do well to refer them early enough for redress,” Mr. Amoah emphasised.
The National Director of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in charge of Private Facilities, Huudu Issah, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the function, looked very impressed with the standard of the facility as he charged the management to maintain the grade of the structure as a hospital.
Young ‘Medicpreneur’ shares Secrets as he employs his former Head-teacher
Mr. Azimbe told the media, moments after the hospital had been officially opened, that his dream came true because he stayed true to it and for the reason that God was also by his side.
“Without any plan, without any seed capital, I just told my God that I wanted to build a hospital. I just started it. I started it small. The Bible tells us that if we have hope in God, all things are possible. Sometimes, people think they need to get seed capital and [belittle themselves] because of their [deprived] backgrounds. If God wants to bless you, your background will not matter.
“I’m from a poor background. Our father passed on in 1990, when we were very young. Whilst I was schooling, I sold toffees and kuli-kuli (peanut balls). I started as a businessman at a tender age. I’m also into construction and supplies. I supply so many schools in the region and outside the region. I’ve built so many CHPS (Community-based Health Planning Services) compounds awarded to me. That is my source of income and I was rising step by step,” he revealed.
Surprisingly, the young ‘medicpreneur’ still works as a nurse at a public health station in the region, politely taking instructions from superiors whom he looks capable of engaging at his own private health facilities. He admitted that managing his age-mates at the companies he owned had been a difficult challenge.
“The funniest is that my former head-teacher, who taught me back in the primary school, is now a staff. When he brought his application letter, it took me so many months before I could decide what to do. The reason was, a personality like this, what would you do if the person is not doing the right thing? But thank God, he is cooperating,” he added.
His modesty was widely noticed at the commissioning ceremony as he was not eager to deliver a welcome address himself as the crowd would expect of a young man who had travelled so far so fast. Attired in a simple smock tailored for his slim body, he rather busied himself backstage with the humble job of a volunteer usher as a little boy, dressed alike and who appeared to be his son, occasionally locked his fingers in his hands as he moved about to welcome guests. Any observer not familiar with the structures of the new facility, considering his self-abasing posture at the event, would harbour some doubts the ‘mega hospital’ belonged to the ‘usher’.
Organisers kept his much-elder brother, Simon Azimbe, an outspoken former Presiding Member of the Binduri Assembly, on the foreground, to deliver the welcome address.
“The challenges that the people of Atuba and its surrounding communities are faced with, suffering from various ailments, will be a thing of the past as severe cases of ailments will be easily addressed with the availability of the Azimbe Memorial Hospital,” anticipated Simon Azimbe in his welcome address as the relieved-looking community applauded the young nurse for bringing healthcare to their doorsteps and for creating jobs within and beyond Binduri.