Human wastes have taken over the premises of the Gbagada General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos State.
A large number of people at the facility told ADELOVE that the development posed health risks to residents of the area, patients and visitors.
During a two-week observation by ADELOVE, it was discovered that pregnant women, patients and visitors to the hospital ease themselves on the premises of the hospital.
Some of the patients and visitors, who spoke with our correspondent, blamed the situation on the hospital management’s failure to provide toilets.
They lamented that if nothing was done to address the challenge on time, an epidemic could break out.
A visitor, Mrs. Tolulope Adeniyi, said she came to the hospital to look after a sick relative who was on admission in the hospital.
She said she had been going to a bush close to the Combined Clinics and Ward to ease herself since arriving at the hospital.
She said, “I have been here for more than three days now. Each time I have to defecate, I go to the bush to do that. Initially, I was reluctant to do it, but I don’t have any other option.
“Sometimes, I stepped on the faeces of other people and the smell in that place is horrible. But what I do is to drop my own, and cover it up with tissue paper before leaving.”
Another visitor, Mrs. Joke Ogungbile, explained that she always left the hospital for a relative’s house to answer the call of nature.
“If one is not careful, one could get infected in this place. Whenever I am pressed, I always go to a relative’s house. After I am done, I return to the hospital to watch over my relative,” she said.
But another visitor, Gbemisola Areogun, said she tried to moderate her feeding to avoid having any reason to ease herself.
Areogun, whose daughter-in-law had been in the labour room for two days, said, “I try to moderate the way I eat here so as to avoid being pressed and wanting to go to the toilet. There is no toilet here and I have to be with my son’s wife. I can’t imagine using the bush.”
Our correspondent discovered that the situation became inevitable as the only public toilet that was supposed to serve the hospital’s visitors, had been closed down for months.
Many new visitors, who were turned back at the entrance of the toilet, were observed by our correspondent peeing in its surroundings.
Others went to a corner at the back of the female ward, where they defecated.
Our correspondent saw different moulds of human wastes in the area, some of which were covered with leaves and tissue paper.
A man was seen by our correspondent urinating on the wall of the hospital’s female ward.
A child was also seen defecating at the waiting section of the ward in broad daylight.
When our correspondent asked a nurse for a place to defecate, he was directed to the bush.
The nurse said, “You are a man now, and you should not be ashamed to use the bush. Just try to cover yourself up with leaves and stay some distance away. We used to have a public toilet, but because people were always soiling the place, it was shut.”
Our correspondent approached another nurse, who advised him to go to the Emergency and Surgical ward and use the male patients’ toilet.
A male doctor at the ward directed our correspondent to a small room beside the doctors’ waiting room, which served as the patients’ toilet.
Our correspondent observed that the flush handle had broken down, and the zinc reeks of fermented urine, while the floor was littered with tissue paper.
There was however, a bucket with a bowl, under a leaking tap.
The choking smell did not make ADELOVE last beyond two minutes in the toilet.
However, some workers at the hospital were spotted by our correspondent using an uncompleted building.
Our correspondent learnt that the unroofed building was an abandoned project which was supposed to serve as a toilet facility.
A female patient, Ojo Busola, described the condition of the only two toilets in the maternity ward as terrible.
While claiming never to have soiled the hospital environment, she said lack of water sometimes left her discouraged in the toilet.
She said, “There are only two toilets in the maternity ward and the lightening system is faulty. So, whenever we go there, especially in the evening, we use torches. Sometimes you get there and there is no water. The toilet in the labour room is the only one in good condition.”
A woman at the hospital, who asked not to be named, explained that lack of water sometime affected the hospital as new born babies who were supposed to be cleaned up were not.
“The lack of water sometimes delays the time babies are cleaned up. There was a day that babies could not bath throughout that day because there was no water. So, it is not just a problem with toilet facilities, water is also included,” she said.
The World Health Organisation in its publication on Hospital Hygiene and Waste Infection said people could become infected with diseases from a dirty hospital environment.
It said, “In a health-care facility, the sources of infection and of the preceding contamination may be the personnel, the patients, or the inanimate environment. The hospital environment can be contaminated with pathogens.
“Nosocomial infections – known also as hospital-acquired infections, hospital-associated infections, and hospital infections– are infections that are not present in the patient at the time of admission to hospital, but develop during the course of the stay in the hospital.”
It added that patients with underlying disease, newborn babies, and the elderly, had less resistance and could develop an infection after contamination.”
A senior official in the state’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Adegoriola Longe, told our correspondent that the visitors’ toilet was built by the management of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
“As a background, please note that we have toilets that are for the public. Some of the facilities were formerly being handled by LASUTH, but were later handed over to the Gbagada General Hospital,” he said.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Ajibola Ishola, said the hospital’s toilet was under repairs.
He said visitors were allowed access to other toilets in the hospital