We have heard of this popular Nigerian adage that what is in Sokoto is in your Sokoto. Sokoto for the second means pocket in the Yoruba language. In other words, it means what you seek for that is far is within your nearby reach.
Sokoto is in the North East region of Nigeria and is a very far place from Lagos where I reside. I have never been there but my mother told me stories of her stay there during the mandatory National Youth Service Corps where she diligently served Nigeria between 1977 and 1978.
Sokoto is tragically in the news for bad reasons as a result of the insurgency and banditry that is threatening its continued existence.
According to a report by Punch Newspapers, it said that the government owned psychiatric hospital – The Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Kware renders specialist services that are affordable to its residents. The Medical Director, Prof Shehu Sale made this known to journalists in a recent interview. He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Health Ministers for giving the hospital a facelift and facility upgrading. He went further to say that they had seventeen different consultants who render specialist services to its teeming patients.
In his words: “The hospital has world-class equipment such as mobile digital x-ray machine, mobile ultrasound machine, ultrasonography machine, digitalised medical and diagnostic records system, occupational therapy equipment and modern laboratory tools,” Prof. Sale revealed.
He disclosed that the Federal Government had also funded new major projects in its COVID-19 interventions at the hospital.
These, he said, included construction and equipping of intensive care unit, construction and equipping of molecular laboratory, construction and equipping of isolation centre and procurement of Personal Protective Equipment.
He said the completed projects were already impacting positively on service delivery and protection of both staff and patients of the hospital.
According to him, the projects will also deliver improved healthcare to the hard-to-reach communities, in line with the government’s commitment to provide essential healthcare services.
Sale noted that total bed space and staff strength had been increased, while the restoration of full accreditation status to the Post-Basic Psychiatric Nursing School at the hospital had been done.
He said patients’ feeding system, laundry, drugs administration, sanitation of hospital environment had been ensured to best standards while workers welfare was prioritised as accorded by unions.
He further explained that in the past five years, the management renovated and upgraded all wards, including administrative block and staff quarters in the hospital to modern standards, and embarked on the construction of gates, perimeter fence, road networks, street lighting, laboratories and pharmacy.
He explained that the hospital provided integrated healthcare services to the people through digitalised finance and administrative record system, along with a steady solar-powered and conventional electricity supply.
He added that the FG had awarded another contract for the construction of the Regional Women and Children Drug Dependence Treatment Centre in the hospital, which would cater to diverse health needs of the vulnerable sub-population.
This is highly commendable giving the sad news of the killings and internal displacement we read about the North East which is the worst hit region in terms of terrorist attacks. The news that the government owned psychiatric hospital can open its doors to low-income earners who are the worst hit by the sinister activities of the terrorists is soothing balm that something good can still come out from Sokoto.
The government should endeavour to build more psychiatric hospitals in the North East as the devastating attacks by the terrorists would inevitably take a huge toll on the mental health of a majority of its residents especially the internally displaced persons. We need to protect the mental health of victims of terrorist attacks as we need to stop living in denial that all is well and throw away the flawed cliché that Nigerians are the happiest people on earth.
This is indeed good news from Sokoto despite the fragile security situation there.