The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, recently rolled out the drums to celebrate its immediate past Chief Medical Director (CMD), Professor Temitope Alonge, for meritorious service to the hospital, in a series of activities capped by a send forth dinner last Thursday (February 28).
Prof. Alonge, a world renowned Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon had been credited with wide ranging reforms and other initiatives which have enabled the institution to maintain its position as the leading tertiary hospital in the West African sub-region, while also attaining global recognition as a centre of excellence in the training of medical personnel, research and the delivery of special health care services.
However, some people believed to be a section of labour force attempted to mar the celebration on his last day in office with posters bearing his picture and inscriptions, pasted around the hospital premises overnight, denigrating him as a tyrant.
But the development which was apparently designed to embarrass him drew open condemnations from various categories of staff of the hospital with some of them expressing their disappointment on their social media walls and platforms against such savage and callous act.
Some of the stakeholders of the hospital, who strongly frowned at the ugly development, noted that Prof. Alonge’s tenure was very rewarding to the hospital which was still commissioning many notable developmental projects initiated and completed by his administration up till his last week in office.
One of these projects is the N200m In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Centre, the biggest in Nigeria, which was commissioned on Thursday, 14 February. The UCH plans to provide efficient and affordable low-cost IVF services to infertility challenged Nigerian couples at the Centre, thereby assisting them because of the current exorbitant cost of the procedure both in Nigeria and abroad.
For this and other numerous achievements of his administration in the UCH, the staff had embarked on series of activities to celebrate him. Highlights of the celebration included the inauguration of some projects, a valedictory session and a send forth dinner.
The Valedictory Session with the theme “Clinical Governance: The UCH Experience” was held at the Emeritus Professor Theophillus Ogunlesi Multipurpose Hall on Tuesday, 26 February where members of staff showered encomiums on him one after the other.
At that event, in a presentation reviewing Prof. Alonge’s tenure, a senior member of staff of the hospital, who is a lecturer and researcher, Dr W. Balogun, spoke about some problems patients often complained about before Alonge’s tenure which were solved under his administration. One of these was the problem of locating service areas which was solved by putting signage in various parts of the hospital for clear direction.
Another issue solved was the problem of delay in admission or access to treatment, which the ex-CMD solved by employing more competent staff to ensure that prompt and quality attention was given to every patient. In another presentation, another member of staff, Mrs G F. Logun, the Head of Hospital Service Department praised Prof. Alonge on clinical governance noting that his zeal for the continuous improvement of the management of the hospital was unparralelled.
Also recognised at the valedictory session, among other achievements, were Prof Alonge’s conquest of the problem of epilectic power supply with the provision of 48 power generating sets as well as renewable power sources. The ex-CMD was also lauded for his heavy investment in staff welfare, retiree benefits, constant water supply and the continuous training and retraining of staff both in Nigeria and overseas.
The acknowledgement of Prof. Alonge’s meritorious performance as head of the UCH did not end there but took an upbeat at his final send forth dinner in the evening of 28 February, the day he bowed out. On that occasion, development partners of the hospital were not left out as some of them spoke glowingly of how he inspired them to partner with the hospital in its quest for excellence. It was a glorious day for him and the hospital.
In spite of these testimonials, some of Prof. Alonge’s reforms and policies appear not have gone down well with some people in the hospital, which probably explains the attempt to cast aspersions on him. It is believed that he might have stepped on some toes with his reputed insistence on strict adherence to due process and standard procedure, for which some people perceived him as being rigid and uncompromising.
The ex-CMD may have also offended some labour leaders during his tenure in the hospital because of his disapproval of strike actions, which he once reportedly described, on one occasion, as reckless.
In a recent press interview, he however explained his reason for this disposition. He said that his most anxious moments were the period when workers went on strike in the hospital because he usually felt very uncomfortable and sad thinking of how patients, who had sought succour in the hospital, would suffer during the strike instead of getting quality attention to give them relief from their infirmities.