Its use remained unknown and the facility undervalued by Nigerians until 10 December, 2016, when the Reigners Bible Church International, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, collapsed in the middle of a service, killing and injuring scores of people. Many on the throes of death were rushed to the Multi-Specialist Hospital built amidst criticism by the then governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
There, many found the grace and survived. But for the hospital and its sophisticated equipment and proximal advantage, the passage to eternity would have been the option. But why wouldn’t death be an option? It would have been because prior to the completion and subsequent commencement of full medical operations at ISH, few hospitals in the country could boast of 21st century medical facilities. Nigerians feared for their lives. The fear most Nigerians entertained was not due to their sicknesses or the medical conditions they found themselves, but rather due to the state of hospitals in the country.
But despite the fact that a world renowned surgeon, Eapen Koshy, had, while commenting on the specialist hospital, in an interview, said that “with Ibom Multi Specialist Hospital in the country, Nigerians have got the best in Africa in the area of Medicare,” not quite a lot of people paid attention to his words. On that day described by many as ‘black Saturday’ in Nigeria, however, ISH opened its doors of mercy and grace and gave back lives to many who never thought they could have a second chance.
Within hours, over 20 orthopaedic surgeries, 15 neuro surgeries and several other cases were successfully carried on over 100 admitted victims of the collapsed church building. This success achieved by the ISH, many believe, has repositioned the hospital to regain its status as the best hospital in sub-Sahara Africa.
Bishop Uwanta’s testimony was not different. Uwanta, who is the board chairman of Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), said he wondered what could have possibly happened to the victims of the church disaster if ISH was not in existence. A 66-year-old clergyman, Rev. Dominic Ekpe, who was responding to question amidst tears on his sick bed, described ISH as the best thing that has happened to Nigeria in recent time.
On his visit to ISH to commiserate with the affected persons and their families, Governor Udom Emmanuel had assured all the victims admitted in ISH of the best medical attention. Udom further assured them that with the quality of equipment and manpower in ISH, the safety of all was guaranteed.
The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Honourable Onofiok Luke, who has been a constant visitor to ISH following the disaster, also noted that the level of medical attention provided the victims and the facilities in ISH were “the reason we are all rejoicing at this moment. If this facility was not on ground, I am sure by now the number of dead case would have tripled. We have one of the best health facilities in the world here in Akwa Ibom State,” he said. The former governor of the state and present Minority Leader of the Nigerian Senate, Godswill Akpabio, who flew in from Abuja to commiserate with the victims of the church disaster pointed out that one of the reasons he conceived and built the 21st anniversary hospital was for times like these.
Senator Akpabio, whose eyes were flooded with tears at seeing some of the victims, prayed for the quick recovery of all the affected persons and thanked God that the state government under his leadership had the vision to bring such medical facility to bear. “One thing about leadership is seeing beyond what others see; looking far ahead into the future. We saw the future and decided to prepare for a time like this. Today, the situation would have been worse if as a government we never had this vision,” he said.
ISH, which was commissioned on the 26th of May 2015, has continued to attract patients with diverse medical conditions, who always left the facilities with beautiful testimonies. Professor Nicholas Dousis from Athens, Greece, had had his overhanging abdomen as a result of obesity successfully operated at the ISH few months ago. The testimony of Uwem Johnson Akpan, a Port Harcout-based Akwa Ibom indigene was not different after he had an encounter with ISH few months ago. Uwem was billed to be flown to India for a surgical operation on an embarrassing skin growth known as Large Bilateral Keloid but finances hampered his plan. He heeded advice to visit ISH, and upon his visit and subsequent operation, he became a brand new man. Uwem believes that ISH is a gift to the people of Akwa Ibom, Nigeria and the African continent.
The Ibom Multi Specialist Hospital has some of the best manpower deployed to run proceedings both in the medical and administrative setup. The equipment at ISH can be compared to the very best anywhere in the world. With a 640 CT scan, modular theatre and various sophisticated equipment at ISH, efficient medical solution is simply guaranteed.
Akpan wrote in from Uyo