Professor Eifediyi: Improving fortunes of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital

It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever, the one who recognises the challenges and do something about it – Vince Lombardi

What gets done, gets measure. Therefore, achieving success is all about setting up goals and expectations and backing these up with determination and passion.

The recent giant strides recorded at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, famous for active intervention in the detection, treatment and cure of Lassa Fever, cannot be highlighted without the mention of the institution’s acting chief medical director, Professor Reuben Agbonyosoria Eifediyi.

Perhaps, worthy of special note is that just six months into his assumption of office as CMD, the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital now has the clearance to produce Lassa Fever vaccines due largely to the hospital’s effective and efficient management cases of the dangerous and fast spreading disease.

Lassa Fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted by certain rats, kills hundreds of people in Edo and other states in Nigeria every year.
The breakthrough recorded by the hospital management was announced by Prof Eifediyi following his recent trip to Germany where he attracted a grant of almost €2 million for the institution to produce the Lassa Fever vaccines. This would make the hospital the only institution in Nigeria and Africa to do that.
Clearly, Professor Eifediyi has, within six months in office, turned the institution into a truly world-class research and training institution, with several hospital infrastructural projects springing up amidst improved host comumunities relations and improved services from staff to patients.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), improving service levels towards safely managed drinking-water or sanitation such as regulated pipe water or connections to sewers with wastewater treatment can dramatically improve health by reducing diarrhoeal disease deaths and other Neglected Tropical Diseases, (NTDs).
Eifedeyi, having realised this on assumption of duty as the acting CMD, sunk several large industrial boreholes to cater for the hospital needs, complete with large treatable reservoir tanks for storage as a remedy to the erratic water supply usually experienced by the hospital because it is located in a rural area.
Just like the popular saying that water is life, revenue is the life blood of any organisation. Since his assumption of duty, Professor Eifediyi has put in place necesary policies aimed ending bottle necks and thefts that had led to a fall in the revenue generation ability in the hospital.
Since he took over, there has been a marked upward trajectory in the size of revenue generated through the introduction of remita, wherein patients’ payment and other forms of revenue are duly monitored.
Having realised that higher performance efficiency would invariably attract more patients and lead to higher work load and pressure on existing infrastructure, the Eifediyi management has invested in new buildings. These include the new pathology building and the new accident and emergency centre, among others.
In the words of Nikki Rowe, “There are those dreamers who make excuses for why they aren’t passionate about or creating anything to match their desires and then there are those dreamers who stay up late just to finish a goal that will get them up the next set of stairs. We all have dreams but not everyone makes it a reality.”
By his actions and deeds, it is apparent that Professor Eifediyi is not the typical armchair CMD, but a doer, who moves round and would do all that is necessary to ensure a well managed Irrua SpecialistTeaching Hospital.
Following his appointment six months ago, Professor Eifediyi who has served in various capacities in the hospital has not said, but has shown by action that Nigerian tertiary health institutions can be moved to a much more better position, having in mind that human, intellectual, infrastructural resources among many others are all that it takes to move the hospital from lintel to ceiling.
His appointment is also a solid affirmation of the truism that experience is the best teacher. On his way to becoming the number one staff of the teaching hospital, Professor Eifediyi has served in various leadership roles – both in the institution and elsewhere.
For instance, he was chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee (C-MAC) of the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital before his appointment by the board of the Federal Teaching Hospital in January 2023 (the specific date), following the expiration of the eight-year tenure of the former chief medical director, Professor Sylvanus Okogbenin.
Eifediyi, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is not oblivious of the nitty-gritty of why lives should be preserved.
Having served as head Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the ISTH and chairman and member of various committees of enquiry both in ISTH and the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Professor Eifediyi’s appointment is one of putting a round peg in a round hole.
Professor Eifediyi is a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons (FWACS); Fellow, of the National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria, Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, (FMCOG); Fellow, of the International College of Surgeons (FICS); Fellow, of the Chartered Institute of Human Resources Management, Nigeria; Fellow Institute of Certified Professional Managers USA and Associate member, Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (London) and many others.
He is a member of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), a former chairman of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) and currently chairman of the Editorial Board of ISTH.
Aminu writes from Benin