THE EMERGENCE OF ST CHRISTOPHERS HOSPITAL AND BCCC
The Bishop of then Owerri Diocese, The Rt. Revd. Dr and later Most Revd Dr. B.C. Nwankiti at a HOD meeting at Egbu, Bishops Court, challenged the Archdeaconries – Owerri, Mbaise, Egbu and Ikeduru/Mbaitoli to start a hospital and secondary school (Seminary projects if they could). They took up the challenge and agreed to start three projects: –
1. A hospital
2. A seminary/convent
3. A vocational school
This vision saw the emergence of the Vocational Centre at Abazu Ogwa (this project though stopped at a couple of unroofed buildings), the Seminary school which began at Egbu as “Archdeacon Dennis Junior Seminary Egbu” and the present ST. Christopher’s Hospital Atta.
The journey for this hospital has not been all smooth but a thing of joy. The hospital now replaces the Old Atta District Maternity Home that was stifled by many privately owned and managed hospital bodies down to lack of patronage and management. The Choice then was between allowing it to die off or to upgrade it to a hospital to compete with the others. The latter option was taken and hence the journey began. It is worth noting that at this time Atta District Headquarters which stands next to the Maternity had been taken by the Diocese and upgraded to B.C.C.C. (This shows the role Atta District, now Ikeduru Diocese played in the history of old Owerri Diocese).
Along the line, the Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Archdeaconry Women took up the renovation of the old maternity with the construction of a quasi mortuary having obtained clearance from the Diocese to upgrade it to a recognized hospital. A VIP apartment was added for clergy who stayed overnight for treatment. ADJS faced turbulent wave and attacks at Egbu and once again the Diocese turned to Ikeduru to provide refuge and Atta District again responded. Mr. Eugene Iwuanyanwu (late) of St. Paul’s Church Umuhu Atta donated a long building at the Old Atta District Hospital and this was used by Archdeacon Dennis Seminary then on transit from Egbu. They used it for a term before they moved to Mbieri its present location, the hospital took up the building for extension for the nurses quarters.
The Diocese applied for expatriate Medical Doctor and later got Dr. S. Mante from Ghana. After two inspections by the Ministry of Health the hospital scaled through and was approved by the Ministry of Health Imo State. Later Dr. Nwanyanwu of Amawo Atta joined the hospital staff, and both doctors worked full time until Dr. Mante left.
The two medical doctors started a Mobile Clinic in the Archdeaconry form St. Simons Church Ugirike to St. Thomas Church Eziama-Obiato. St. Christopher Hospital and Ogwa Joint Hospital were then used for referral cases. The hospital had over eight persons on staff with eleven nurses in training. Our application to be linked with Iyi-Enu Hospital in Onitsha met with partial success before the exit of the retired Archbishop/Diocesan
The hospital was equipped and furnished by MISHO/MIHIS. “MISHO” stood for “Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Self Help Organization and Cooperative Society, registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Imo State. “MIHIS” was Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Health Insurance Scheme attached to MISHO cooperative.. It is gratifying to see the hospital still flourishing after it went down for some years, under the Diocesan of Owerri.