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Nigerian History: First Hospital In Nigeria

Valentine Chinyem

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The Nigerian health sector has continued to grow, despite the slow pace, lack of basic amenities in hospitals and under-paid health workers.

With so many hospitals in the country today, either owned by governments or ran by private owners, the Nigerian health sector, despite the backwardness, has come a long way.

The first hospital in Nigeria however, was not established until 1893, in Lagos. Before it became a general hospital, it was used as a military hospital to cater to the health needs of members of the British Armed Forces during the colonial era.

The establishment was formerly known as the African Hospital, but the name was subequently changed to General Hospital, when issues bordering on racial discrimination sprung up.

The umbrella body for all Medical Doctors, known as, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) was also established at the hospital in 1960 as a transformation of the Nigerian branch of British Medical Association (BMA), which started in 1951.

General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island c.1893

The pioneer staff of the General Hospital was originally British until 1952 when the Nursing School was established and the first set of nurses to be trained at the hospital were admitted.

More so, the General Hospital was handed over to the Federal Government of Nigeria on the October 1st, 1960 during her Independence from Britain, and was subsequently handed over to the Lagos State Government after the state was created on the 27th of May, 1967.

The General Hospital still standing in Odan, Lagos Island, between Broad Street and Marina in the central business district of Lagos State, has served as a training ground for Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Radiographers and Technologists.

The hospital continues to provide services which includes, Surgery, General Out-Patient Services and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Years later, the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department got relocated to Massey Street (Ita Eleiye) and became recognized as the birthplace of many famous Lagosians.

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