It was gathered that the Management of the Jos University Teaching Hospital has threatened to stop the feeding of in-patients, if complaints against the gesture persisted.
The Chief Medical Director, Prof. Edmund Banwat, told newsmen in Jos, on Wednesday, that the initiative, which was heavily subsidised by the hospital, might stop, if patients were not appreciative.
Banwat said: “We see the feeding of in-patients as a social service, which we run at a heavy loss; as a specialist hospital with referral cases, we know that feeding form part of the patients’ management therapy.
“We subisdise the feeding, as we charge N100 for breakfast and N150 for lunch and super each.
“Our desire is to ensure that patients are fed with food rich in the required nutrients that are crucial to their recovery process, as prescribed by the physicians.
“We expect the patients to cooperate with us and appreciate this gesture and not complaints from people; alleging that we are forcing people to pay for food they do not want to eat.
“We have tried to educate them but we may be forced to review the gesture if the complaints persist.”
Banwat expressed surprise on the allegation that diabetic patients were being forced to eat carbohydrates, stressing that it was the physicians’ instructions that determined the meals.
Banwat said the programme was even of advantage to the patients’ relations, since JUTH was far from Jos city centre, saying that it would save them the cost of bringing food to patients from the town every day.
He noted: “The feeding has also helped to minimise cases in which, relations of patients turned all corners of JUTH into cooking points that caused smoke to spread all over the place.”
Corroborating Banwat, Sir Michel Odi, the JUTH’s Chief Catering Officer, said the feeding of patients used to be free until the outfit became a teaching hospital.
Odi stated: “As a specialist hospital, feeding is part of the therapy and one crucial way of managing patients on admission.
“The doctors determine what constitutes the meals of patients. They decide whether or not the meals should contain high protein, low salt, carbohydrate, sugar, starch.
“We, therefore, insist that patients should pay for the food while depositing money for drugs and beds but some patients oppose such policy.
“We cannot force them to eat here.
“But we have a duty to manage them; since they are here, they should subject themselves to the rule in their own interest.”
On diabetic patients, Odi said that dieticians usually review their cases to determine the quantity of carbohydrates or protein permissible in their meals.