News & Events
ELEVATION OF ST. JOSEPH CENTRE TO A HOSPITALDate Posted: April 23, 2022
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HOSPITAL
St Joseph hospital Ukana Iba in Essien Udim Local government Area is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Ikot Ekpene and presently managed and Administered by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.
The initiator of this project was late cardinal Dominic Ekandem of blessed memory, he indicated his interest to start it in 1966 when he mandated Rev Fr John LaLor, The Then parish priest of Ukana Parish and Knight Columba Ekanem to find a site for the establishment of a church project. The present site was chosen because of its proximity to the station cum parish Church. Nothing serious actually took place until September1976 when his eminence decided to convert the little building that was built for soap making to a remedial center for the physically challenged persons with the help of the then parish priest Rev Fr P. Flanagan because there were so many handicapped and helpless persons living in poverty after the civil war. Just two buildings were set up, one was to serve as dormitory and the other as office for physiotherapy. At this period the administration was by the Medical Missionaries of Mary(MMM). The ministry of health Akwa Ibom State seconded some teachers to train people in the following areas.
From then on, many other denominational church organizations, congregations, NGOs, Governments of AkwaIbom state, Nigeria and international government, organizations and individuals has taken interest and contributed to the growth of this great center.
The advent of the Daughters of Charity came in 1980 who were invited by Cardinal Ekandem to continue from where the MMM stopped, when he Died His Lordship Camillus Etukudoh became a very big support and instrument for development of the center. The Daughters of charity were able to identify a doctor who could correct some of the deformities of the physically challenged persons who were referred to the general hospital for corrective surgeries.
Many people with disability could not afford to come to the centre because they were living in the interior so the Daughters of Charity started a mobile outreach clinic to the villages and referred very intensive ones to Ukana. This was the beginning of the outreach clinic which has continued till today. It started in march 1981. At this time there was great support from the state government who was seconding most of the staff and paying their salaries. UBE/SUBEB, the Caritas and Liliane foundation of Netherlands, GEM of Germany, the Irish aid of Ireland and other good-hearted people joined in the support.
The Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity built the CBR unit for support of the outreach clinic in 1996. In 2001, the Irish Aid donated the Xray Machine and its unit to support the patients who were being referred.
ST. JOSEPH THE WOKER: A MODEL TO ALL WORKERS
Although Joseph was from a royal linage, he was not a wealthy man. He was not ranked among the wealthy people of his time. He was an ordinary man like most of us, a man who had to work very hard to cater for his family. He worked as a Carpenter. Joseph was so good at his work that his contemporary described him with his profession; is this not Jesus the son of the Carpenter? (Matt. 12:55). He worked with dignity and integrity. If otherwise, Jesus would have been referred to in a derogatory manner. Several times during his public ministry, when the people were amazed at his wisdom, they wondered if he was not the son of the Carpenter.
Joseph was not a lazy Father. He taught his Son his trade. He must have worked so hard to feed and clothe his family. He taught his Son the dignity of labor. Jesus learnt from him the art of carpentry. He was so good at this work himself that when the people marveled where his wisdom came from they said, “is this not the Carpenter?” (Mk. 6:3) They also identified him with his profession. Imagine how the people would have shouted him down if he was not good at his work like his foster Father Joseph.
Joseph is praised today as a model to all workers, especially, the Nigerian workers many of whom are after what the work place will offer them. “What is in for me in this place” is the question for many of us, instead of “what can I do to better the place where I work.” Remember that the progress of my work place is a blessing to me. The uplift of my work place is my uplift as well. If you are in a place and you fail to put in your very best, your progress will be stalled. Where will the money for increment come from when you make your Organization not to grow?
Joseph did not work like some of the artisans today, whom you give work once but you cannot go back to them because they don’t care about tomorrow. In their blind pursuit for immediate gain, they cheat you and do shoddy jobs, such that the Customer cannot go back to them for another job tomorrow. Joseph did a good job of whatever task is assigned to him because he had the fear of God. He sought the will of God in his daily activities.
Joseph did not have the “bring them down syndrome” of many workers today. Some workers are like termites that eat down the very building that provides shelter for them. Instead of minding their departments in the work place, they will spend their time gossiping and tearing people down, in the process they will destroy the Organization. Joseph was a conscientious worker.
As this hospital is being raised to the status of a full-fledged hospital, I urge all the workers in this institution to imitate the person of Joseph. Changing the status of this institution from a Rehabilitation Home to an Hospital is not just a paper work, we have to change the mentality of the people towards the place. The onus is on every one of you who works here, do all you can to help the people to change their mentality. The Administrator cannot do it alone, she needs your collaboration.
Strive to be honest in your dealing with all service users. Collaborate with the Sisters to make this place AN HOSPITAL. Be honest like Joseph and don’t work to defraud the hospital or the Patients who use the place. Remember the maxim: whatever you do, you do for yourself. Always remember this Yoruba adage “the tick is killing itself but it thinks it is killing the dog.” “The tick in the body of a dog is happy to feed on the dog and kill it, but it forgets that once the dog dies; it will die too, as there will be no source for its nourishment. As long as the dog is alive, the tick has hope of survival. The same way, when you run this great institution down, you will be cut off from your source of financial nourishment and you will die financially.