Dividends of Facility Management: The Lagos Experience
Wale Akinnriade was in his Vauxhall, South London office when
he received a text informing him that his father had been
injured in a bad motor accident on the 20th of September 2011.
He got on the next available flight the following day and went
straight to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH)
from the airport. As his taxi approached the hospital gate, he
shuddered. He knew what to expect from a government hospital;
rancid walls, the smell of disinfectant mixed with pungent
odours from open wounds, non-functional lightbulbs and dirty
Wale was shocked at what he found. The hospital ward was impeccably clean, with uniformed hygiene personnel mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms around the clock. The electrical fittings were fully functional, the air conditioners worked, and it was clear that the walls had recently received a fresh coat of paint. Wale found it difficult to hide his disbelief at the good conditions and asked a nurse on duty how it was possible that this was the same general hospital that he had visited years ago. Her answer; facility management.
While facility management is a relatively new field in Nigeria, most western countries have employed the use of facility managers for over a decade. The field is devoted to all business support services; from cleaning to security and painting. The Lagos State government has shown exemplary vision in its employment of facility managers to run several of the state’s institutional facilities, including the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Lagos State College of Medicine (LASUCOM), and eight Maternal & Child Centres (MCC), among many others.
According to Dennis Stokell, the Facility General Manager at Deux Project, who is responsible for the maintenance of the hospital complexes, “We provide an integrated facilities management service to the hospital, so that healthcare practitioners can focus on their core function; the care of patients. They need not spend time and resources on fixing problems that would deter them from their work. We take that pressure off them.”
Proactive, planned maintenance as well as reactive maintenance means that most of the hospital’s systems remain in optimal conditions at all times. A wide variety of services are included in these tranches including cleaning, security, pest control, fumigation, waste management and disposal, air conditioner maintenance, lifts, carpentry, painting, plumbing, gardening, and generator and biomedical machine maintenance.
Mrs. Laide Lawal, a nurse who has worked for Lagos State for over twenty years is proud of the LASUTH facility. “Many of my colleagues in other hospitals are envious of our hospital. The environment is always clean and all our equipment and machines are in good working condition at all times. It has made our work so much easier.”
Mrs. Lawal’s sentiments are echoed all around the hospital complex, where it is not uncommon to see high-ranking public officials using the diagnostic center or dentist’s wards alongside other citizens.
If the success of the facilty management scheme is an indication of things to come in the state’s institutions, then one thing is for sure; facility management is here to stay.