Why we established a world class hospital in rural Tula community of Gombe State —JEF

Photo shows Gov Inuwa Yahaya (with mic) being supported by Mr Thomas Etuh during the commissioninh of the JEF Medical Center Tula, Gombe State

By Williams Ago, Gombe

Mr. Thomas Etuh, chairman of Jennifer Etuh Foundation, says it was the wish of his wife, Mrs Jennifer Etuh (of blessed memory) to bridge the gap between Nigeria's largely non-functional primary health care centres (PHC's) and the very few functional ones.

The philanthropic Jennifer Etuh, before her death on January 20, 2020, had expressed concern that out of Nigeria's 30,000 PHC's, only 20 percent were functional, wondering why certain levels of medical care was accessible only to the wealthy, who could afford to pay for such services or travel abroad.

She was also concerned that the good hospitals within the country are located in only cities, with little thought given to the health care needs of poor and rural communities.

It is for this reason, said Mr Etu, that the foundation, built the Jennifer Etuh Medical Centre, in rural Tula community of Kaltungo Local Government Area of Gombe State in memory of his wife, Jennifer Ramatu Etuh.

The foundation has already built and commissioned four of such facilities in Odu, Ogboyega, Dekina LGA of Kogi State for the North Central Nigeria; Mallagum, Kagoro, Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria; and in Ifewara, Osun State, Southwest Nigeria,; including that of Tula, Gombe State which serves the Northeast. 

It also has plans for the soon commissioning of the hospitals in Imo State for the southeast and Cross River State for the South-South regions, which are currently under construction.

Etu made all these known at the commissioning of the Tula Hospital, where prominent Nigerians, including the State governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, his deputy and many traditional rulers in the State were present. 

Also present were the immediate past Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, renown preacher, Pastor Serah Omakwu among many other clergymen and politicians.

Mr Etuh said the 10th of July, 2023, the day the fourth Medical Centre in Tula, Gombe State was being commissioned also marked his late wife’s posthumous 49th birthday. The medical centres also has alongside it a skill acquisition centres.

In his address, Gombe State governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, restated his administration's commitment too partner organisations, institutions in it's quest to deliver quality, affordable healthcare to it's citizenry.

He noted that the inauguration of the State-of-the-art medical facility and modern diagnostic centre in Tula, is a significant step towards achieving this goal.

According to him, aside from its intervention in health, the Jennifer Etuh Foundation is equally into support for agricultural activities to boost food sufficiency and security.

He said, "The commissioning of the medical center in Tula is expected to provide a boost to the health care sector in Gombe State and serve as a model for other healthcare facilities."

While promising to construct a road to link the health facility, the governor used the occasion to call on the leaders and members of Tula community to fully assume ownership of the health center by ensuring its adequate maintenance.

On his part, the royal father of the community better known as Mai Tula, Dr. Abubakar Atare Buba, described the establishment of the medical center as a dream come true for the people of his domain as the facility is said to be one of its kind in the north eastern Nigeria.

The royal father explained that the people of Tula remain indebted to the Jennifer Etuh Foundation, hence the decision of his chiefdom to honour Chief Thomas with the prestigious and important traditional title of Dan Amanan Tula.

The traditional ruler, who thanked Governor Inuwa Yahaya for providing the hospital with a new ambulance and directing GoHealth to partner with the medical center, appealed to him to consider providing a mortuary and establishing a mini campus of the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Tula to provide more opportunities for the people of the area. 

It is hoped that establishing the Jennifer Etuh Medical Centre in Tula, will address healthcare challenges with quality medical care for vulnerable population in and around Tula.
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