In the spirit of giving back to society, the class 9A of the 1976 to 1979 Lagos State School of Nursing donated medical equipment worth over N5 million to one of the Lagos State tertiary health institutions, Island General Hospital. ROLAND OGBONNAYA writes
It is always an honour to celebrate when the alumni come back to lift the fortunes of the institution that nurtured them. After 45 years of graduating from the Lagos State School of Nursing, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, the second pioneering set of the institution, known as the Galean came back to honour their alma.
A class of 40 students, made up of 36 females and four males rose to the zenith of their profession with so many embracing public service, private practice and others seeking greener pastures abroad. The journey of their career in nursing began at 1 to 9 Awolowo Road lkoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. Though they lost a colleague immediately after graduation, the class has maintained cohesion by organising monthly meetings in each other’s homes.
So when they decided to donate to a Lagos healthcare institution, the choice the General Hospital Lagos Island was the first given that it was where their bedrock of clinical training started under the free sponsorship of the then Lagos State government. For them, two vital signs monitors, 20 dressing trolleys, 25 drip stands, and 250 white bed sheets cannot be compared to what the Lagos State government gave them through free nursing education
Speaking at the occasion, the President of the Gales Club Class 9A 1976 to 1979, Omipe Sadipe, said the donation of some medical equipment to the hospital was in recognition of what they received from the hospital. He said the gathering of the class fondly called GH during their training from 1976 to 1979 reminded them of the challenges they faced. She recalled having to fight off a Military Government effort to make them sign a five-year bond post-training, noting that they had to mourn the loss of “one of us who died shortly after we returned to the hostel from Yaba Psychiatric Hospital.
“These and many other challenges rather than break us individually and collectively helped in the strong bond that is waxing strong daily. The entire members of the class formed the Gales Club shortly after graduation. Today, we remain one happy family. We the entire members of the special class of 9A set, popularly called the Bera class, of the Lagos State School of Nursing, 1-9 Awolowo Road lkoyi represented by members here physically present, and members joining online are back home.
“We like to thank most sincerely the Lagos State Government for giving us a world standard quality nursing training. Lucky us, we enjoyed this world-class quality training for free,” she stated. Sadipe expressed their special thanks to the GH Management Team noting that “daily we appreciate the world standard clinical training impacted in us, from June 1976 July 1979.
“To all those Staff Nurses, Nursing sisters, Matrons in all the Wards, Emergency clinic, operating theatre many may not be here today that helped in our clinical training, We appreciate you, we thank you, we remain grateful. God bless you all. To the present Nursing staff and the Management Team of GH, we thank you for raising the bar of the healthcare delivery system for the people of Lagos State.
“The Director of Nursing Services, GH Nursing staff members, we like to shout it loud and clear to the world: that through our members’ contribution to the healthcare delivery system, what GH deposited in us has benefited mankind in many Nigerian hospitals, corporate health clinics, the best hospitals, and health facilities all over the world.
“We the Galean as we call ourselves have over the years used our unity cultivated in Awolowo road and donated equipment and modern-day teaching aids to our great school. Today we have come to donate hospital items that will enhance the health care delivery system of the cornerstone of our clinical knowledge. Medical items that will be helpful in the ER room, in the Wards and the Nursing Delivery System,” she emphasised.
Commenting on the donation, the Managing Director, Lagos Island General Hospital, Dr. Ismail Ganikale, said the gift was coming at the right time they are witnessing a deep renovation. He pointed out that the hospital would deploy all the donated items to increase healthcare delivery for the patients.
“We appreciate your gift and this is what we need for the new wards. If I have my way to our wards as they get renovated we will begin to name them. We are going to name one ward Galean ward and we have reasons to do it. These monitors will be in that ward, the drip stand, and most of the donations will be in that ward. We will be using the ward before the end of this year.
“There is no accident in life, why is it at this time you people decided to come? This is the period the hospital is undergoing a complete deep renovation in the last over 100 years.”
Ganikale, however, emphasised that he has always made one point that the hospital belongs to the nurses, as they spend the most time with the patients “others come and go but 24/7 the nurses are the closest to the people.
Moved with nostalgia at the timeliness of the equipment, the MD announced that with new wards recently added in the ongoing renovation, the management would dedicate a ward in honour of the Class 9A set. “As you reached out to the hospital, the needy, God Almighty will bless, prosper and protect each and every one of you.
“So we have a Galean ward now in our Lagos Island GH and I also want to make an appeal, please do not let this spirit die. Even if it means widening it to welcome others, maybe from another class; we thank you and we appreciate it.”
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the group, Mrs. Ibidola Adeniyi, while handing over the donation to the hospital management pledged to adopt the newly named Galean ward as a way to foster effective collaboration between the set and the hospital community. “We promise you that with this donation, we keep monitoring their utilisation and adopt the ward as our own. We will ensure that the ward is effectively equipped adequately. Within our capacity, we will intervene to keep this relationship a continuous one. According to her, “our donation today is the beginning of periodic donations that we shall be making to GH.
Ezekiel Awe, a member of the Class 9A, and the only surviving male, who flew in from Houston Texas, for the donation, admonished the GH management to frequently notify them of their immediate needs. “As a representative of those in the diaspora, we implore you to please interact with us frequently in any issues facing the hospital,” he said.
However, he stressed that despite the appeal to work abroad; home remains the best place to be at any time. “Though we are working in the diaspora to make money our mind is over here in Nigeria. Though social amenities are better there, social interaction is not there, causing some to end up in psychiatric homes.”
Awe noted that just as so many organisations like their club are helping their alma mater, individuals who are wealthy should always donate their monies to hospitals. “The government cannot do everything, it is when we as individuals support our healthcare system, and this is what makes the difference between there and here. This is what we are trying to introduce so that all our former sets and those who are following us will also emulate us.
“We are so sad that the School of Nursing is no more there, but we do not know the genesis of closing the place. But we are not happy that the school is no longer there because you cannot make reference to the school directly and that is giving us a sort of problem,” Awe stated.
Delighted with the visit of the Class 9A, the Deputy-Director Nursing Services/Apex Nurse, Lagos Island General hospital, Mrs. Monebi Ayodeji, believed with the right equipment and technology healthcare delivery could be seamless. She said the donated equipment would reduce stress for the nurses in the ward, “The issue of going up and down to take medical readings for patients will be totally reduced.”
At the occasion also, Consultant and Head Anaesthesia, Lagos Island General Hospital, Dr. Abiola Mafe, expressed that the vital signs monitor would help in taking patients health data on a real-time basis. “So giving us two of these monitors means that more lives would be saved.”
Explaining the functions of the monitors, she said these machines would check the blood pressure, which was one of the bases they must do for every patient.
“It will read the pulse-that is the beating of the heart from minute to minute, it will also take the oxygen saturation, which means how much oxygen each patient is carrying at every point in time. If we are able to monitor critically ill patients with some equipment rather than doing manual work; you are getting it done electrically then of course you have moved forward compared to those who are still doing pulse and blood pressure manually.
“This one is real-time you can set it every five minutes and every five minutes it will take the blood pressure on its own unlike a nurse having to come back each time to take blood pressure, she will go and come back. It also has an automated paper, so if it reads and the nurse is doing something else you can always go back and check and see what was recorded over the period of time.
“This equipment will reduce stress for the nurse, health care system because apart from that nurses do not have to keep telling the doctors this is what I got they also can go back in time to check and see what the readings are,” she emphasised.