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Forex crisis: UPTH moves to end medical tourism despite poor funding, power supply gaps, equipment inadequacy

Forex crisis: UPTH moves to end medical tourism despite poor funding, power supply gaps, equipment inadequacy

The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) says it is determined to lead the surge to end medical tourism abroad by creating capacity to treat delicate medical conditions in the coming years.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC), a professor, Lucky Onotai, who revealed this to newsmen last week said the UPTH was determined to pursue the objective despite numerous challenges such as inadequate funding, brain drain, power supply crisis, equipment inadequacy, etc.

The CMAC however said the UPTH has entered into some collaborations and partnerships to remove some of the headaches while power has been obtained to employ new hands to keep covering the gaps created by brain drain.

The CMAC, supported by his deputy, Datonye Alasia, a professor too, who is in charge of Advancement and Partnership, was briefing newsmen on what he called five-year development plan of the Teaching Hospital which has the status of a centre of excellence.

One of the fruits of partnership with hope of resolving perhaps the most challenging setback is decision by Shell to build a gas turbine for the Teaching Hospital.

Onotai said the power supply crisis that rocked the UPTH months past had abated with meetings held with Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) company to get at least 20 hours per day of power supply. “We also have two big power generators to support at sensitive areas and intensive care unit.”

Onotai and Alasia said part of efforts to achieve the target of ending medical tourism is the launch of five-year development the development plan which they said focuses on training, research, and partnership with patients and the community.

He went on: “Exodus has affected the UPTH very much. So, the FG gave us the power to employ to keep closing the gap.”

Core values led by compassion have been inculcated t focus on neuro-surgery, cardiovascular care, etc. Research mobilisation however, seems to have a major gap.

This must be why the UPTH led by Henry Ugboma who recently got a second term has perfected plans to enhance funding by strengthening the unit that focuses on partnerships. The unit now focuses on oil majors to attract support and funding.

The CMAC admitted the existence of one major hidden challenge being situations that force the tertiary health institution to dabble or double back to primary and secondary healthcare needs.

Read also: HealthFundy deepens access to healthcare through crowdfunding

Onotai admitted also that funding does not cover those other two levels but that the hospital cannot turn patients away.

He said emergencies are treated free of charge, that Social Welfare Departments recommends cases for free treatment, highway accident cases are sent to the teaching hospitals, etc. “Bill waivers are huge, too”.

He said the UPTH has no option than to focus on patients using resources available. “We will not chase away patients, until government provides enough.”

Rising cases of penile fractures:

Meanwhile, the UPTH has recorded rising cases of what it calls penile fractures.

This is said to be a case with men, especially younger persons who are tempted to resort to performance enhanced drugs (PEDs) to impress their partners.

The good news however is that the Teaching Hospital has recorded 100 per cent remedies through surgery.

The UTPH authorities have thus called for caution, saying six persons have received surgery in five months of 2022.

The report came out last weekend at the UPTH Auditorium where monthly Ground Rounds, a programme where one ailment is featured in the form of a medical symposium before all departments for inter-department review and update.

Explaining details, the head of department of Urology of the Centre of Excellence, John Raphael, said such fractures cause death plus penile impairment. He said the topic: ‘From Pleasure to Pains, the Travails of Man in ‘the Other Room’.

He said the situation has become so serious that it is now an emergency which attracts waiver in teaching hospitals.

He said erection is higher during influence of drugs and in extra-marital situations. From lectures by many experts in the department, it was made clear that unusual approached in love-making lead to fractures.

He said the desire to impress seems to be on the rise, saying erectile dysfunction is a serious manifestation.

The experts said much tests are done to decide cause of action, and that surgery remains the best option, while delay may lead to further damages.

In the lead presentation, Ogechi Okerengwo gave three scenarios and case studies treated recently and isolated the section of the organ known as tunica Albuginea (lower region) which usually gets burst during high turgidity.

She said in most of the cases, the victims used the back entry and suffered fracture when twists occurred. Other cases present themselves as swelling and bending, requiring surgery to treat the affected section.

In the review of the epidemiology of the incidence, experts said it is a global problem and that reports across the world and that some incidents have led to court cases where the female partners were discharged.

Reports have also revealed rising incidence of sudden deaths during copulation caused by intake of performance enhancing drugs.

Lectures delivered at the UPTH’s Ground Rounds showed how one top vein delivers blood to the male organ to boost erection and turgidity, but when this is excessive, it leads to burst of artery and instant death.