Last week, I received several phone calls and messages from my kinsmen, the people of Burra in Ningi Local Government, all talking about one thing.
More often, when these kind of calls and messages come from home, they would be about either pressing issue in our community or when tree fellers and deforestation cartels, who are as powerful and influential as Presidential Villa cabals, strike harder, threatening our forests. People would start calling and requesting me to do something about it because of my concern on community development and historic penchant for fight against destruction of our forests.
This time the topic is different. All the calls are about ‘Likitan Burra’; the Chief Medical Officer of General Hospital Burra. His name is Dr. Muhammad Adnan!
The first call was like a distress one on Monday last week. The caller helplessly said Abdul they have transferred ‘Likitan Burra’, the hospital will be in mess if we allow this transfer. He then narrated to me how the Doctor transformed the hospital in two years and rendered helpless service to all communities of Burra, some parts of Toro Local Government and neighbouring communities of Sumaila, Doguwa, Tudun Wada and Takai Local Governments of Kano State.
According to him since the establishment of the Hospital, they never had a great Doctor like him.
Another caller told me how Dr. Adnan religiously stayed in Burra for two years attending to patients. He said due to the deteriorating nature of the hospital, people prefer to take their patients to either Federal Medical Centre Birnin Kudu in Jigawa State or Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital for better medical attention but immediately after he was posted to Burra in 2019, the situation changed. People no longer travel to long distance for medical care. Our neighbours from Kano State made Burra their medical Mecca. Referral of cases to FMC Birnin Kudu and AKTH reduced drastically.
The caller therefore insisted that we must do something urgently to cancel the transfer of the Doctor. He said himself, Sarkin Burra and some influential community leaders are doing something about it, being close to the Speaker and other government officials, I should also do something at my own end.
Testimonies of Dr. Adnan’s selfless service kept pouring in. I was told how the medical doctor became anti corruption czar. He blocked all major financial leakages in the Hospital and judiciously used the resources coming into the hospital especially from donor agencies and programmes such as N-SHIP. The Doctor used all resources at his disposal to transform the hospital by providing basic medical equipments and renovating various units. In matter of months, the hospital wore new look.
I was also told how the Doctor dedicated even weekends to attend to some critical medical issues. Sometimes he would travel to Bauchi, his hometown to spend a weekend at home, but if a call is put to him that there is critical medical matter, he would call off the weekend break and immediately travel back to Burra, about 230 kilometer journey.
His dedication and sacrifice toward effective healthcare delivery to the community is legendary and uncommon among the medical personnel of today’s generation. Another important testimony about him, is his professionalism and success of his surgeries and treatments.
From religious leaders to community and traditional leaders, from youth and students to women groups, small and big, it’s protest everywhere in Burra and environs, all saying Dr Adnan should not go. His transfer to elsewhere should be cancelled.
In fact, in recent years I can’t recall seeing a civil servant being celebrated and loved by the people he served like the ‘Likitan Burra’, Dr Adnan.
Then, some people began to come up with some conspiracy theories. That some people who benefit from corruption in the hospital are behind the transfer of the Doctor because he blocked their sources of illegal money. People were lamenting and pointing accusing fingers at some individuals.
As I am planning to take up the matter, yesterday I saw people posting their pictures with the Doctor and emotionally bidding him farewell as he finally leaves Burra. It was so much emotional.
When I see the picture of the Doctor for the first time, to my surprise, I realized that the ‘Likitan Burra’ my people so much cherish is my Unimaid friend whom I didn’t meet since 2008. I exclaimed, no wonder! The Adnan I know in University of Maiduguri can do more than that.
I got to know Adnan through my roommates who were his classmates at MBBS Department; Dr Jamil Big J, Dr Usman Jama’are, Dr Mikail Daudu Suleiman and Late Dr. Aminuddeen Idris. Our room in B Block was the meeting point of many medical students especially those who are from Bauchi State.
Adnan was a super guru and a very religious man who rarely talk then. While he was in 200 level, he got scholarship to study medicine in Russia. That was the time he left us and I didn’t see him again since then. Unknown to me he was in my hometown serving my people diligently and selflessly.
I couldn’t believe that the Russian doctor will even accept to work in General Hospital Burra which many doctors see as punishment ground for doctors who don’t have godfathers. I then know, we were just lucky to have the Russian trained medical doctor posted to Burra and stayed for more than two years.
I immediately got his number, called him and introduced myself to him. He quickly remember me and memories of our meeting point, B3 Room 9 in Unimaid.
I visited him at their family house this evening where we discussed about his experience in the Hospital and the possibility of his return to Burra.
He debunked the rumour that some staff in the Hospital are behind his transfer. In fact he didn’t transfer but quits State Government’s service because his two year bond with the Bauchi State Government has elapsed and he will now proceeds to residency training in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital to become a consultant. Thus his return to Burra as Chief Medical Officer can’t be possible.
The Russian doctor told me how he met the hospital so much dilapidated but was so strong not to look for transfer, stayed and contribute his own quota.
Dr. Adnan explained to me how he enjoyed working and living in Burra.
According to him, what impressed him more about Burra is our value for education, everybody goes to school.
However he lamented how we don’t allow our women to study medical courses and work in the hospital despite the high literacy and value of education.
He narrated to me how a nurse, an indigene of Burra was posted to the hospital but immediately she reported, worked for her transfer to Bauchi. “If an indigene of Burra will not work in the hospital who do you think will come and serve you better?. In fact one of the problems of the hospital I couldn’t solve was that of the Maternity. This is because there is no single indigenous nurse or midwife working in the Hospital. Those we have are from Benue and Lagos States.” He explained to me.
Dr Adnan advised that we should sponsor women who are married in Burra to College of Nursing and Midwifery so that they can come back and work at the Hospital. He said this the most effective way to solve many problems in the Hospital.
I expressed the utmost appreciation of all the people of Burra and other benefiting communities to him for his spectacular service which we believe Almighty Allah will soon reward him in many ways.
While we awaits the Ministry of Health to post a medical doctor that will replace the Russian Doctor, people of Burra will forever remain grateful their doctor, Adnan and pray that Almighty Allah will grant him all his desires and elevate him to an enviable status here and hereafter.
Abdul Ahmad Burra