It is one thing for an academic community to lack the presence of a good health care facility; it is another for community members to refuse to utilize the health care facility provided for them. Right from day one of our undergraduate journey in UNIBEN, we have heard many myths and rumours about the University of Benin Health Centre, especially in Ekehuan Campus. Has anyone ever tried to ask the appropriate sources for the right information? Our quest for the truth took us right into the health centre where we were granted an interview by the Deputy Director of Nursing Services, Mrs Dabor. Here are some myths and what the health centre specialists had to say about them:

Myth 1: The Healthcare staff have no sense of commitment to their duty

Not true. The staff of the health centre view their work as responsibilities meant to be carried out and many of them carry these responsibilities out with a zeal inspired by their deep-seated interests in saving lives and caring for the suffering.

Myth 2: The health centre doesn’t enjoy much patronage

Although one cannot compare the health centre’s daily patient volume to that of UBTH and other full-fledged hospitals, the health centre is a beehive of activities on a normal day. This is because the health centre has to care for the students, staff and staff’s families in Ekehuan Campus (that’s a lot of people if you think about it). In fact, they have got a bit busier due to the influx of external patronage lately. The university’s management has, as a way of impacting society, allowed people from the school’s environs (non-NHIS) to use the health centre after paying a little token as consultation fee, then they buy their drugs from pharmacies outside.

Myth 3: The staff don’t need to fear burnout since they don’t do much work

Since the health centre has quite a large patient volume, its workers naturally have the need to prevent burnout from overwork. The health centre’s staff recognize this need and hence they practice self-care by taking things a step at a time and resting whenever they can.

Myth 4: The health centre is not up to date

Definitely not true. Just like every other health practitioner, the staff keep up with latest medical advancements by reading journals, attending seminars and watching out for new cases, illnesses and methods.

“When it comes to healthcare, information is not constant. We see new cases every day, new strains of pathogens, new and more efficient treatment methods, etc. If we don’t update our knowledge, we’ll get left behind and may be unable to help our patients more efficiently,” Mrs Dabor said.

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Myth 5: The health centre lacks equipment and professionals

This myth is one of the oldest and has been passed down among students over the years. Here’s one fact that will leave you shocked: The health centre boasts of the necessary facilities needed by a healthcare facility including a standard laboratory where different tests are run (blood sugar and blood pressure checks, blood group determination, malaria, hepatitis B, HIV and even pregnancy tests). They also have a good supply of various drugs as well as conducive patient rooms.

“We have drugs and we administer them to patients. It is true that occasionally, some drugs get used up but they are quickly replaced,” Mrs Dabor stated, adding that all of the health centre’s staff were professionals with many years of experience.

Myth 6: The staff lack coordination

When it comes to healthcare, teamwork is important. In UNIBEN Health Centre, Ekehuan Campus, each team leader works with other team leaders and the members of their own teams. They are able to achieve this teamwork through a combination of Communication, Tolerance and Incentives.

Myth 7: Students don’t trust the institution

While it may be true that some students do not trust the institution, it is also true that over 50 per cent of the students trust the health centre with many of them rushing to see the doctor at the slightest headache. The other 50 per cent do not visit the health centre chiefly because most of them have not done their medical clearance.

Myth 8: The health centre isn’t bothered if you come or not

Our last myth is not true at all. The interview we conducted showed that the health workers are concerned about the students who don’t come to be medically cleared. They stated that the medical clearance helps them to know the patients’ medical history which makes it easier for them to help the patients. Their morale is heavily affected by the lackadaisical attitude some students display when it comes to their own health, coming only when things have got very serious. The health workers try their best to get the situation under control but are not happy considering the fact that things would not have been so bad if the patient had come at the onset of symptoms. It should be noted that the health workers usually end up managing the crisis well.