BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BENIN TEACHING HOSPITAL, COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CENTRE, OGBONA, NOW CHIEF M.C.K ORBIH COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CENTRE, OGBONA BY DR. FELIX ORBIH AND GILBERT ODIOR
It will be difficult to understand the relationship or connection between UBTH and this great educationist and worthy son of Ogbona without a peep into the political antecedent of the man Chief Michael Clement Kadiri ORBIH.
Chief MCK equipped himself with a Grade iii Teachers Certificate in 1946, followed by Grade II Teachers’ Certificate in 1948 in the same institution -St John Bosco’s Teachers’ Training College, Ubiaja. He had a very rewarding Teaching career with many of the students who passed through his tutelage as their headmaster in Primary Schools or their Principal at the Blessed Martins Secondary Modern School, Jattu. Uzairue, are now old Professors and distinguished professionals in various fields of human endeavours. He made his foray into politics in 1954 when he contested and won the election to represent his Clan at the Etsako District Council at Auchi as headquarters, on the platform of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroun (N.C.N.C) Party, led by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. In 1957, he attended the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University. Zaria, where he obtained the Certificate in Local Government Administration.
Towards the end of the British Colonial era, the Pre-Independence years (1956-1959), Chief MCK Orbih, acceding to the yearnings of his people, joined the Action Group (A.G) Party, under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo from Ikenne, Western Region of Nigeria. In 1957, Chief Orbih was appointed a member of the Western Region’s Advisory Board of Education.
On December 12, 1959, Chief MCK Orbih took the big plunge into the vast National political landscape. He contested and won the Federal Elicitation into the House of Representative in Lagos on the Platform of A.G Party, thus becoming the youngest Member of Parliament (M.P) in the House, at Nigeria’s Independence on October I, 1960. For five years, he represented his people of Afenmai Constituency well. From his brilliant contributions to debates on the floor of the House, he left no one in doubt that his main reason for being in politics was for the socio-economic development of his people and country. In and outside Parliament, the young and ebullient Honourable MCK exhibited his attributes of a man of strong and selfless character and infectious amity.
With the first Nigerian Military Coup that overthrew the civilian government of Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, on January 15, 1966, the political glamour of the First Republic was over and many politicians went underground while some fled the Country, but Chief Orbih like few others, and went back to his roots to continue his continue his private business among his people unmolested. After a long period of Military interregnum (from 1966, which included counter coups, change of governments, three years civil war and post- war reconstruction; the ban on political activities was lifted.
Chief MCK Orbih became one of the founding Leaders of the National Party of Nigeria NPN)-one of the few new major political parties registered to contest elections for the Second Republic. The National Party of Nigeria, NPN presented Alhaji Shehu Shagari as its Presidential flag bearer while the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the Nigeria’s Peoples Party (NPP) presented Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe respective flag bearers. A confident, courageous, an experienced political motivator, mobilizer and experienced organizer that he was, Chief Orbih decided to return to Parliament by contesting on the platform of NPN in the new elections scheduled for middle of 1979. MCK was fully aware he was going to run against his former Party its Flag bearer, then the Presidential flag bearer of the new Party UPN in the new political dispensation.
As a well-known loyal and dedicated party leader, Chief Orbih with other leaders campaigned vigorously not only for his candidacy in his Constituency but also throughout the State for the NPN’s Gubernatorial and Presidential Flagbearers for the State and Country respectively. Election Day came. Voters, turnout was massive and impressive. Field report indicated that MCK. Obviously adjudged the most popular candidate, was coasting home to a very comfortable victory over his main opponent. The result from his constituency, which was awaited with keen interest was delayed for nearly 24 hours; by the time the results were announced the following day, the National Election Commission (NECO), declared MCK Orbih the “loser”, with their figures allegedly concocted by the known chief collating officer and chief returning officer from the area, to the chagrin and consternation of teeming NPN supporters who were spoiling for War. He told them to be peaceful and “leave things to God who knows best.” MCK would insist that Politics should not lead to the flow of human blood; if it does, it is no longer Politics but War! In the final analysis, Ambrose Ali, a Professor of Morbid Anatomy at University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH). won as the UPN Governor of Bendel State. Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the NPN, won the Presidency with very impressive showing against Chief Obafemi Awolowo, even in Bendel State.
On October 1, 1979 Alhaji Shehu Shagari was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a handing-over ceremony by the Military Government of General Olusegun Obasanjo. Early in June 1980, the appointment of Chief MCK Orbih as Chairman of UBTH. Management Board was made, with others. The inauguration and first general meeting of the Boards of all the 10 Federal Teaching Hospitals at that time was held in Lagos under the Honourable Minister of Health in Lagos on 13th June 1980. In an official Congratulatory message to Chief MCK Orbih on his appointment, President Shehu Shagari, on 17th June 1980 wrote:
“I feel particularly delighted to congratulate you on your appointment as Chairman of University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
While you may not know it, your unsung attributes were more than sufficient to have secured you this responsible and demanding post. It was not necessarily due to the fact of your membership of a particular political party.
I trust that your known flare for hard work and honesty of purpose will inspire you to render fruitful service to ALL NIGERIANS that may in need of the attention and care of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital”
Alhaji Shehu Shagari
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Being a master strategist and articulate planner, he meticulously read all briefs he received from stakeholders in and outside the Hospital to prioritise his action plan. Encouraged and armed with such pleasant words and directives from the most powerful man in Nigeria at that time, the Man MCK, swung into action without waste of time, to do what he knew how to do best,
And so, he held his first Board meeting at UBTH on the 8th of July 1980. For him, it was a full-time job on the chair of a Board almost completely composed of internal professionals of varying contending Interests. Within a year, the Board had addressed and settled the issues of Staff appointments, employment, promotions, training and welfare. There was general improvement in the supply of medicines and equipment to the hospital.
In 1982, the Federal Government approved the proposal of the Federal Minister for Health, Mr Daniel Chukwu, to establish two Comprehensive Health Centres for the UBTH. The concept of Comprehensive Health Centre (CHC), in design, equipping, staffing and functionality, or a mini Specialist or General Hospital; it was supposed to be located in a depraved rural community far away from but still accessible to the main Hospital. A minimum number of middle level Health staff across general medical disciplines were supposed to be resident in the Centre to diagnose and treat the rural patients. Medical, Nursing and midwifery students doing their professional trainings were supposed to go on periotic rotation to these Centres to learn about the health problems in these communities, and how to manage them.
OGBONA in Etsako Central Local Government in Edo North, and UDO in Ovia South-West Local Government of Edo South fulfilled all the criteria for siting the 2 Comprehensive Health Centres in their locations. It was therefore easy for the enigmatic MCK to use his political dexterity cum democratic political experience to secure unanimous support from the Board, of which he was Chairman, for his choice of OGBONA-his home village, and UDO for the Projects. The man of destiny used the opportunity of history to bring better health closer to his people. The Comprehensive Health Centres were also expected to create employment low and medium level indigenes in and around the communities.
With all the drawings completed, and the Contract for the Construction of the Comprehensive Health Centre for N1, 900, 000.00 and a completion period of 18 months dully awarded to Setraco Construction Company headed by Alhaji Inu Umoru, the foundation stone of UBTH Comprehensive Health Centre was laid at Ogbona by Board Chairman, Chief MCK Orbih on 3rd March 1982. The Board, under the watch of the Chairman, ensured that works and supplies at the Comprehensive Health Centre met the highest standard of the specifications to fulfil its mandate.
On 29t h July, 1983, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital Comprehensive Health Centre, Ogbona, was officially opened, with the unveiling of the ceremonial plaque by the Honourable Minister of Health Mr D G Ugwu. The colourful ceremony witnessed prayerful thanks-singing, cultural dances and shooting of Dane guns to entertain the people of Edo North and their visitors from other parts of the State and beyond. Similarly, the following day, 30th July 1983, the UBTH Comprehensive Health Centre (CHC), at UDO was officially opened.
However, workers of various units or departments were coming from Benin to attend to patients at the Comprehensive Health Centre, Ogbona on a daily basis for the first few weeks before changing the system to monthly basis until when redeployment was made for some workers to be posted to their various units to treat patient and refer serious cases to UBTH, Benin for proper management.
The functions of the Centre include out-patient and in-patient medical and maternity care, referrals from health clinics, environmental health services, family planning, control of communicable diseases, health education, mental and dental care.
- Treatment for Sick Persons.
- Embalms dead bodies.
- Undertakes referral of accurately ill patients to UBTH, Benin and other government specialist Hospitals.
- It also gives some Health Education or awareness e.g. Family Planning.
- It also provides safe delivery for pregnant women.
- It is also a valuable to UBTH, training facility for Medical Students, Medical Research and continued Education of Medical Graduates.
- It also provides facility for training of nurses, midwives and post basic nurses.
It has a staff strength of about sixty (60) workers on permanent appointment and about eighteen (18) workers on contract appointment.
The Clinic was initially open to the general public. Mondays – Friday 7:30am – 3:39pm whilst those receiving dressing and injection were attended to on Saturdays and Public Holidays from 8:00am – 1:00pm and is fully opened now for (24hrs) twenty-four hours daily by the introduction of shift duties and call duties.
- Then suddenly in December 1983, yet another Military coup with Major General Mohamadu Buhari as Head of State, took over. He not only sacked President Shehu Shagari and all he stood for but also put him under House arrest for several monks. Ministers were sacked, and Boards dissolved.
- Some Political opportunists and adversaries of Chief MCK Orbih in the UBTH and Bendel State at large started writing frivolous petitions over the Administration of UBTH Board under his Chairmanship with special focus on the Comprehensive Health Centre at Ogbona. This led to his detention and arraignment before the so called Military Special Investigative Panel “SIP”. Other panels of inquiry were also set up. Even from detention, Chief MCK Orbih fearlessly fought his distractors, with the mightiness of his pen, the transparent shine of his truth and the infallible records he kept. At the end it was clear of all that those who engaged in a fruitless voyage of discovery against him were hired to stain he spotless political image he had built, with a motive to obstruct his future, the unforgettable was cleared to go.
- MCK left UBTH BOARD, but NOT politics, in December 1983. He died on 15th December 2004 leaving behind a new generation growing politicians prepared to fight the political marginalisation of and discrimination against his people and community that now survive, almost entirely on self-help projects. Chief MCK Orbih died on 15th In a statement at his funeral at Ogbona on 22nd January 2005, Prof. Eugene Okpere, incumbent Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UBTH said the hospital authority had change the name of the Health Centre to “Chief MCK Orbih’s Comprehensive Health Centre, Ogbona (University of Benin Teaching Hospital Annex” in memory of his remarkable service to UBTH, and the founding and development of the Comprehensive Health Centre.
- The neglect of the CHC at Ogbona seem to have started with the exit of Chief MCK from UBTH in December 1983. If not, why no renovation or additional structure, despite increased community population, higher patient patronage and availability of land space within the Comprehensive Health Centre, since opening in 29th July 1983?
Comprehensive Health Centre Facility
- DATE OF OPENING 29th JULY 1983
- SIZE 1,000FTSQ
- SURVEY COPY — NIL
- MAIN HOSPITAL FACILITY
- X-RAY ROOM (NO FACILITY)
- MATERNITY WARD-YES
- C THEATER (NO EQUIPTMENTS)
C TREATMENT ROOM 2 AND CASUALTY AND ACCIDENT ROOM
C 3 DOCTORS OFFICES
C 4 NURSING STATIONS
- ADMISSION WARD 30 BEDS (TEN BEDS AVAILABLE)
- PHAMACY STORE
- ANY OTHER FACILITIES
- ACCOUNTANT OFFICE
- DELIVERY ROOM
- DENTAL CLINIC ROOM (NO EQUIPMENT)
5 EXTERNAL BUILDING
- GENERATOR “HOUSE
- SECURITY OFFICE
- DOCTORS RESIDENT
- NURSES RESIDENT
- NUSRSES HOSTELS
- KITCHEN (BUT NO EQUIPMENT)
- NURSES -6
- AUXILARY NURSES- NIL
- ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF -26
- CONTRACT STAFF -22
- AMBULANCE -2
- WATER TANKER-1
SOME OF THE PROBLEMS OF CHIEF M.C.K ORBIH COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CENTRE, OGBONA
- No Renovations done since the opening in 1983.
- No medical instructions to carry out minor or major surgeries.
- No Equipment in the Surgical theatre to handle minor surgeries.
- Mortuary is now too small to handle the Embalming of dead bodies from the various villages in the immediate environment
- All the vehicles were purchase at inception in 1983. Most of the vehicles are now grounded.
- Most of the drugs are not available in the Hospital
- Lack of man power as workers retired are not replaced or put on contract basis.
- No water borehole in the hospital
- The generating set is very old and over used
Suggested solutions/ constraints:
- Invite Companies or Organizations Local or International to support the Centre.
- Self-help through Community organizations like Ogbona Elites Forum, Ogbona Youth Forum, and other community leaders
- Invite Local and international organize medical visits to the centre
- University of Benin Teaching hospital continue to use the centre for the training of its medical staff and students
- Work with NYSC to send more doctors and other medical personnel to the centre
- UBTH to replace essential staff that have retired or left the service
- CMD, and /or Appropriate Medical Association or Body MUST always be carried along for any intervention
PHOTO GALLERY OF CURRENT STATE OF CHIEF M.C.K ORBIH COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CENTRE, OGBONA