The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Buratai said the establishment of a 200-bed capacity military hospital in Maiduguri was to save time and reduce the stress which sick and wounded troops often experience in the theatre of operation in the North East.
Buratai in a remark at the foundation laying ceremony of the Nigeria Army Command Hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State capital on Monday, said the facility would serve as referral centre to both troops and their families as well as the host community.
“Evacuation of personnel in the theatre to the Army Referral Hospital in Kaduna takes more time and causes a lot of stress. It is for this reason we will establish this 200-bed capacity referral hospital here in Maiduguri not only for the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and their families but also to provide medical support to the community,” he disclosed.
He commended military troops for their commitment to fighting Boko Haram and ISWAP (Islamic State for West African Province), a regional terrorist organization.
He assured that the military would “do everything possible” to ensure security and protection of the northeast and the country.
He said the location of the hospital was to ensure easy access both by troops and the civilians living around the area.
Borno State governor Babagana Zulum said the establishment of the military hospital as a referral medical centre was historic. He said he was glad to be invited as a special guest of honour even as he commended the army chief’s decision to make the civil populace in the area directed beneficiary of the medical facility.
Zulum who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Babagana Wakil, assured the military of the government support and collaboration. He, thereafter, joined the army chief to lay the foundation of the hospital located at an expansive land near the Maimalari Cantonment of the Nigeria Army, 7 Division.
The 200-bed capacity hospital, according to the representative of the army Coordinator Special Projects, consist 10-bed accident and emergency unit, general ward, VIP ward, psychiatric and trauma centre, gas plant, pharmacy, administrative block, catering service, stores, mortuary and other facilities.
He said the hospital will also have a Helipad for easy movement of troops from the battlefield for emergency cases. The army currently operates a hospital in the Maimalari Cantonment upgraded by the army chief said to be inadequate in meeting the medical support for troops in the area.