By Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
In a way to curb truancy and improved service delivery, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, (AE-FUTHA) on Wednesday 24th June, 2020 launched a database capturing machine.
Addressing members of the board and management during the official launching of the device at the hospital complex, AE-FUTHA I, the Chief Medical Director, Emeka Ogah, said the exercise was an epoch-making event as the innovation has been a long time dream since his emergence as the hospital director.
According to him, the device would go a long way to reducing truancy which is one of the greatest challenges facing every public institution in the country.
According to him, it would replace the manual daily attendance register for officials, thereby boosting international best practice of social distancing as encouraged by NCDC where members of staff do not need to cluster at a point to write their names on same notebook.
He pointed out that the hospital workers with the new device would comfortably capture their attendance on resumption of duty and do same on closing of work every day within few seconds just by going close to the machine which captures their faces without touching the device.
The Chief Medical Director hinted that a good number of the devices have been installed at various units of the hospital including the clinical and administrative section of AE-FUTHA I and II for easy and rapid capturing.
He challenged other sectors to adopt the system as the best way to curtail absenteeism and encourage safety especially in this period of Covid-19 outbreak.
In his words, “On behalf of the board and management of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, I welcome all of us in this epoch-making event. This is the first time we are launching this device in the hospital and I believe the machine is the first of its kind in the whole country especially in the tertiary health institution.”
“In 2015, when I took over the mantle of leadership of the hospital, we had top management meeting and it was in our mind that we will have an electronic database capturing machine that will serve as daily register for staff and that we planned doing but it didn’t work out but God being so kind on our side, we were able to actualize it this year.”
“We supposed to have launched it in January but many things kept delaying it including the recent Coronavirus outbreak which many complained of social distancing but when you watch the machine you will see that it is programmed in such a way that you don’t need to press on any button but simply to go close to it and it reads your name and collect all the necessary information which will be done within not more than 5 minutes, replacing old daily writing of names in register attracting cluster of staff who wait to write their attendance.”
“The innovation is of international best practice of social distancing as encouraged by NCDC where members of staff should not cluster at a particular point, so, it has reduced fear of breaking the World Health Organization directive on social distancing in the hospital.”
“Meanwhile, the machine was introduced with the sole purpose of ensuring that our staff come to work and in due time, the device is like auditing exercise so that absconding and lateness to work without management knowing will stop and this is the best way to boost service delivery.”
“I’m happy and calling other sectors including health institutions generally to emulate this innovation because it is an easy way to keep records of entire staff in the hospital as we have installed same machine in clinical and administrative sections in AE-FUTHA I and II”, he added.
In an interview, Comrade Oji Uzodinma described the move as a welcome development and a wakeup call for workers who must change their attitude towards their official duty as they must clock-in and out on daily basis which is the best practice in health sector.
He said that with the new innovation that health delivery would improve in the hospital, and stressed that they would not suffer power problem as to keep the machine functional considering their steady power in the area.
On his part, Mr. Maduka Emmanuel Chinonyerem, of Financial Forensic Studies and Diagnostic, and leader of the technical team said the contract was awarded to them to produce the special recognition attendance machine, noting that the device has high memory capacity and programmed in such a way that it would not consume high data.
He added that information available in the device cannot be altered by any member of the public or junior staff as it would be manned by high ranking officers of the institution who ensure that the machine is protected.