Stop Student Deaths From Poor Healthcare Inside Nigerian Universities
Yesterday, June 21, 2023, a Candle Light Procession was held at Delta State University, Abraka by students for their fellow student, Ayaemene Eugene, a 300 level student of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts who according to the Student Union Government led by its President, Caleb Okupa, died on his way for further medical treatment “after being referred by the University Health Services.”
Though the Vice-Chancellor of Delta State University, Abraka, Prof. Andy Egwunyenga according to Vanguard, has set up a special committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding this incident after students protested the death of their colleague, insisting it was due to negligence by the school health centre, the spate of deaths of University students as a result of poor or absence of internal healthcare services or facilities has become alarming.
Some students have alleged that the late Eugene is the only child the parents have. The managements of Nigeria’s education institutions should appreciate the implications of losing a child even for a parent that has plenty of children and so, give serious attention to healthcare facilities in their various institutions. It is only when students are healthy that they can attain the knowledge that took them to the Ivory Towers. There is also need to urgently check the conduct of health workers in Nigeria university medical centres.
A few weeks ago, there was a protest by students at the Legacy Campus of Benson Idahosa University, Benin City in Edo State over the slumping and eventual death of a final year student of Computer Science identified as Bruno Chigozie Ezeonye said to be twenty-one years old.
According to Vanguard, it was gathered that the deceased is the only son and second child of his parents whose father is from Anambra State and his mother a South African. The parents are said to be based outside the country.
It was gathered that the deceased collapsed while playing football on the campus football pitch. He was said to be an active footballer. Vanguard gathered that when the deceased collapsed, help did not come on time as the doctors and nurses in the health facility on the campus were said to be “foot-dragging in the face of an emergency condition”, a parent who preferred to be anonymous complained.
According to him, “the Clinic workers have always shown a lackadaisical attitude and this has always been complained to the University authority but they did nothing about it.
“When they eventually responded and needed to refer him to Faith Mediplex Hospital, an affiliate of the Institution, located at Airport Road, a far distance from the Legacy Campus, they said the ambulance driver complained that there was no petrol in the ambulance.”
The students who reportedly mobilized to protest after vandalizing the school’s clinic and security post when the news of the death of Ezeonye filtered in were eventually calmed down by the President of the University, Bishop FEB Idahosa.
Daily Post reported in January, 2023 that the management of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) had commenced an investigation into the death of an undergraduate, Precious Agini, a year 3 student of the Department of Library and Information Science, who died on January 28 at the UNICAL Medical Centre.
A statement by the Registrar, Gabriel Egbe said a board had been set up by the Vice Chancellor to probe the circumstances surrounding Agini’s admission, treatment and care. The board was also to determine if the death could have been prevented and examine the roles played by the staff of the medical centre in managing the patient.
“The Board is also expected to establish the veracity or otherwise of allegations of carelessness or negligence of duty and advise on how to avoid a reoccurrence,” Egbe added.
The Nigeria University Commission, working in collaboration with the Nigeria Medical Association and health regulatory authorities should periodically review certified health centres in university campuses to prevent incidents of undergraduates meeting their waterloo at Nigerian Universities over health issues just because they are students.