By Chukwujekwu Ilozue/Onitsha
Established in 1947 to decongest St. Joseph Hospital, Adazi, and make healthcare accessible to people in the deep Aguata local council area, Visitation Hospital and Maternity, Umuchu remained a mini-hospital without much assistance, especially with the outbreak of the Civil War when it was converted into a kwashiorkor centre. However, in 1983, the then governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo visited the hospital and donated N25,000. With it, the maternity section of the hospital was built. That was the much the hospital benefited in terms of human assistance. That notwithstanding, Visitation Hospital remained a backbone of healthcare in the area, boasting of delivering most of the now famous people from the area.
Perhaps, it is in remembrance of its services, coupled with some prodding from church leaders, especially the Bishop of Awka, Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor that the hospital received unprecedented assistance from prominent sons of Umuchu, Dr. Godwin Ezeemo and Dr. Emmanuel Nnopu.
Bishop Ezeokafor visited the hospital recently and both Ezeemo and Nnopu were on hand to receive him as part of prominent people from the community. Nnopu, through his Gordian Nnopu Foundation had at that time donated some beds to Nnamdi Azikiwe hospital in Awka and Ezeokafor jokingly told him that it was good he donated the beds, but that charity begins at home.
In no distant time afterwards, the Gordian Nnopu Foundation donated 10 motorized hospital beds to the hospital. He actually paved the way to Ezeemo Foundation. Nobody could remember when the hospital mattresses were last changed, so much that they had all shrunk in sizes. The Hospital Manager, Rev. Fr. Banabas Okafor said of the hospital: “The hospital has gone through a lot of challenges. A lot of things need to be changed. The mattresses have gone flat and so we had to call on the philanthropist gesture of Dr, Ezeemo who happily made donations of these mattresses. Indeed Ezeemo took up the challenge and donated a lorry load of mattresses to the hospital on April 21.
His representative, Chief Banabas Okonkwo (Ogbuefi) told Ndigbo that donation of the mattresses by his boss could not have been a problem given that Ezeemo is well known for his philanthropist gestures.