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Eifediyi: Making giant strides in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital 

Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital has experienced remarkable impact in the last six months, witnessing development across different units. From improved infrastructure to better staff welfare, which has given room for better delivery on its core mandates of teaching, medical interventions and research, the hospital is putting its name on the global map of medical schools with outstanding output.

For instance, the teaching hospital now has clearance to produce Lassa fever vaccine. This is huge because Lassa fever kills hundreds of people in Edo and other states annually and it is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted by certain rats. 

The re-engineering that the hospital has experienced in the last six months has been facilitated by the uncommon leadership of the acting Chief Medical Director, Professor Reuben A. Eifediyi, who came on board in January 2023.
He does not just talks, he walks the talk. In March 2023, he promised to make the Irrua Teaching Hospital the number one in the treatment, management and control of infectious diseases in the world. And now, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital not only has clearance to produce Lassa fever vaccine, Eifediyi just came back from Germany where he attracted a grant of almost two million euros to produce Lassa fever vaccine, which would make the hospital the only institution in Nigeria and Africa to do that. 
One of the issues the teaching hospital was grappling with when he came on board was availability of potable water. Before his assumption of office as acting CMD, the hospital had no constant source of water, being that it is located in a rural area. He was able to sink several large industrial boreholes to cater for the hospital needs, and the hospital now has large reservoir tanks for storage.
Because he knew that to deliver on some of the reforms he promised while aspiring to be the CMD, when he came on board, he promised to improve on the institutions’ revenue, internally and externally. In line with that, he has put in place mechanisms and policies to stop theft and block loopholes in the institution’s revenue architecture. This has boosted the hospital’s revenue.

One of the units he has worked on is the Pharmacy Department, where he has introduced online payment through Remita, as patients now pay online. This promotes accountability and checks fraudulent practices.
Some infrastructural projects are going on in the institution’s campus as more buildings are being erected to complement existing ones. Two of such buildings underworks are the new accident and emergency centre and the new pathology building.
Eifediyi is not only focusing on hardware, he is also concerned about soft issues. This explains why he has improved management, staff and clients relations.

Most times, it is said that he doesn’t sit down in his office as acting CMD, he moves round the institutions to inspect and make sure things are going well. Within six months, he is audaciously working on turning the institution into a truly world-class research and training institution he promised.  
For many who knew Eifediyi before he was appointed acting CMD, it is not a surprise. This has been his pedigree; he does not only talk about excellence, he works for excellence.
Eifediyi was, until his appointment, the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee (C-MAC) of the hospital for over three years. Before then, he was the head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Chairman, Editorial Board Committee of the hospital for the previous three years prior to his appointment as CMAC. Also, he was the acting Chief Medical Director from April to September, 2020 when the Chief Medical Director, at the time, was on a national assignment in the Federal Ministry of Health during the heat of the novel COVID–19 pandemic.
While serving in those committees, he had the opportunity to contribute significantly to the implementation of the current vision and mission of the hospital.

No wonder, when he was seeking to be CMD, he said: “It is fundamental that we become strategically important and relevant not only to our immediate community but to the Nation and indeed the World at large. It is against this background that I have formulated my vision and mission statements for the Hospital in the next 4 years as stated below.”

Six months down the line, he is walking on the path he promised. Eifediyi maintained that the health system needs a strong, passionate and knowledgeable leader and he sees himself as a motivated, passionate, intelligent and dedicated and willing person ready to offer fresh and practical approach to strengthening the health system.

“With my leadership conviction and commitment, I will work to accelerate the strengthening of the system, to provide health with equity, resolving problems and weaknesses, and identifying with more precision where some of the true blockages and challenges lie.

“I will explore problems from systems perspective, show potentials of solution that work across sub-systems, promote dynamic network of diverse stakeholders, inspire learning and foster innovation, more system-wide planning, evaluation and research. I will work to promote organisational change (a process by which an organisation purposefully alters its work process, structures or aims) by promoting change solutions that achieve desired goals, not over simplifying processes, not underestimating level of resistance, not too fast, communicating clearly expectations, involvement of the people/staff and by provision of many quality learning experiences.

“One of the most serious obstacles to the development of effective health service is inadequate supply of manpower. I will strive to establish institutions of learning to train high, middle and low-level manpower and strengthen the residency programmes. This will attract students from all background and benefit from them the enhanced academic excellence at ISTH. I will promote transformational learning that will be specifically designed to meet the needs and challenges of clinical health care providers, managers and leaders from highly diverse professional and cultural background, especially in the field of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

“I hope to develop ISTH to a level to educate its students and workforce and cultivate the capacity for lifelong learning to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits to my country and the world at large.”

As a professor of Obstetric and Gynaecology, his reforms in O&G department have seen maternal deaths greatly reduced. Eifediyi is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

He is a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons (FWACS); Fellow, of the National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria, Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, (FMCOG); Fellow, of the International College of Surgeons (FICS); Fellow, of the Chartered Institute of Human Resources Management, Nigeria; Fellow Institute of Certified Professional Managers USA and Associate member, Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (London) and many others.

He is a member of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), and a former chairman of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN).He served as head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the ISTH and chairman and member of various committees of enquiry both in ISTH and the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital is a federal government of Nigeria teaching hospital located in Irrua, Edo State. It was commissioned on November 21, 1991, by the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, GCFR as a 230-bed hospital, but clinical activities did not commence until May 1993.
The purpose of ISTH is to become a centre of excellence in teaching, research and service to various health problems facing the rural and suburban/small urban town communities.

The teaching hospital was also established to provide specialised, affordable, accessible and qualitative promotive, preventive and curative health care services for patients.
Aside his MBBS acquired at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Eifediyi has enrolled for diploma and certification programmes in top medical and research institutions across the globe. He has a diploma in Health Systems Management from Galilee International Management Institute, Israel; Certificate in Policy Strategy and Leadership Course National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Nigeria; Certificate in Leadership and Management in Global Health, University of Washington, USA; Certificate in Fundamentals of Implementation Science, University of Washington, USA; Certificate in Building your Leadership Skills, École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC), Paris, France; Certificate in TropEd Accredited Advanced Module, Laboratory Systems and Public Health in Resource Limited Settings (LAB-Sphere) Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), Hamburg, Germany; and Certificate in Biobanking, Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics (FIND), Geneva, Switzerland.

Administrative And Leadership Background
His administrative and leadership background started from childhood. Although he was not the firstborn, he took up the leadership role to take care of his parents and siblings. In Primary School, he was at the top of his class and that placed a lot of responsibilities on his as the Class Scholar.

He was admitted into Secondary School in 1981, and was made the Class Captain. During this period, he learnt how to organise his class and coordinated/supervised class social and academic activities, relating with teachers. It was really a practical experience.

In the University, he was elected Class Representative in the second year of Medical School at the University of Nigeria. He was then saddled with the responsibility of managing the entire class in 1991. He remained the class representative till the fifth year of his Medical Education. Later, he was elected the Secretary of the Imoke Hall Government (the final year medical students’ hostel of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus). As a class representative, he was able to manage the class and the class produced two Students Union Government Presidents.
Upon completion of his University Education, he served the nation as a Corp member in Sokoto State and was elected the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) Medical Director of the Corp Clinic. He was employed as a Medical Officer at the Ambrose Alli University Medical Centre in 1999 and later became the Deputy Medical Director, and contributed to the design and construction of the New Health Centre at the University.
He was admitted into Residency Programme in 2003 at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo State. He was appointed the Monitoring and Evaluation Focal Person in 2005. He contributed to making ISTH a hub of PMTCT for East Central and North Senatorial Zone under the GHAIN and IHVN programmes.

Source: The Guardian