By Yakubu Musa
One big paradox about our dear country, Nigeria, is the size of the population of her unsung heroes and her under-celebrated celebrities. My recent trip to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State exposed me to another champion making a difference for the nation. Professor Ahmed Ahidjo, the Chief Medical Director of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, hosted us to a sumptuous dinner at his residence, and while we were busy savouring the delicious meal, our conversation centered on the challenges of medical care in Nigeria. This led to a spontaneous invitation to see the silent revolution he was doing in that part of the country.
Indeed, amidst the complexities and triumphs that define this vibrant part of the country, this medical visionary has been working diligently to revolutionize healthcare.
Ahidjo, from what I observed, has spent the last four years of his tenure as the CMD leading this institution toward an extraordinary transformation, one that is not only making it a beacon of hope for patients in the region but also positioning it as a national healthcare powerhouse.
Under his visionary leadership, the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital is evolving into a medical Mecca of sorts, particularly for its exceptional cancer care. The hospital’s journey towards excellence in healthcare began with the establishment of a world-class cancer center, boasting state-of-the-art facilities that rival some of the best in the world. This cancer center, featuring four cutting-edge treatment bunkers, is a testament to Prof. Ahidjo’s unwavering commitment to advancing medical care in Northern Nigeria.
One of the crowning jewels of this transformation is the hospital’s acquisition of the HD Versa, a sophisticated cancer treatment machine only available in Kenya in the entire African continent. This cutting-edge technology allows for precise and effective cancer treatments, sparing patients the need to travel abroad in search of advanced care. The addition of the Linear Infinity and other state-of-the-art equipment further enhances the hospital’s capabilities, ensuring that cancer patients receive world-class treatment within their region. This development alone has alleviated the financial and emotional burden on countless families and is a shining example of what we need to be doing to make this country great.
But Prof. Ahidjo’s vision extends far beyond the realm of cancer care. The hospital’s kidney clinic, equipped with 84 beds and top-notch facilities, is also becoming a regional hub for transplantation and advanced surgeries. Patients suffering from various kidney ailments no longer need to embark on arduous journeys to seek specialized care. Under Ahidjo’s leadership, the hospital has become a haven for those in need of critical medical attention, offering advanced treatments including endoscopic procedures for kidney stones.
A testament to Prof. Ahidjo’s commitment to holistic healthcare is the magnificent 150-bed Child Center, an autonomous facility comprising 12 specialized clinics catering to the unique needs of pediatric patients. This center is not merely a medical facility but a sanctuary of healing and compassion for young patients and their families, embodying the hospital’s commitment to comprehensive care.
In an extraordinary collaboration, Prof. Ahidjo successfully attracted the establishment of a prosthetics center by the Red Cross, a facility that required a substantial investment of 3.6 million USD. This center provides life-changing services to those in need, further solidifying the hospital’s status as a comprehensive healthcare provider with a focus on improving the quality of life for its patients.
One cannot discuss Prof. Ahidjo’s transformation of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital without acknowledging his dedication to sustainability. The hospital now generates 0.8 megawatts of electricity from its solar power source, ensuring that essential units such as the cancer center and others have a reliable power supply. This sustainability initiative not only reduces operational costs but also reflects Prof. Ahidjo’s forward-thinking approach to healthcare infrastructure and his commitment to environmentally responsible healthcare practices.
Beyond the remarkable facilities and initiatives, Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo’s leadership at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital has cultivated a culture of excellence, compassion, and innovation. His tireless dedication to improving healthcare services in the northern region of Nigeria is an inspiration to all, reminding us that visionary individuals can indeed make a profound difference, regardless of the challenges they face.
In a world where healthcare disparities persist, Prof. Ahidjo’s transformative leadership serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when passion, innovation, and a deep commitment to humanity converge. The University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, under his guidance, stands as a testament to what can be accomplished in just four years when visionaries like Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo embark on the journey to transform a local hospital into a regional healthcare hub.
As we celebrate the remarkable progress achieved thus far, it is evident that Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo’s path to transforming the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital into a regional healthcare powerhouse is far from over. His unwavering dedication to advancing healthcare in Northern Nigeria continues to inspire us all, reminding us that the pursuit of excellence in healthcare knows no boundaries and that the future holds even greater promise for this remarkable institution and the patients it serves. Prof. Ahidjo’s legacy is one of hope, healing, and boundless possibilities.
Yakubu Musa writes from Abuja.