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The Public Relations Officer (PRO) at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) has debunked claims that 14 babies died at the incubator section of the hospital due to a power outage.

Elabha Alexandra Meni told 1news that the allegations are false and inaccurate. She said the hospital has no record of infant mortality at the special care baby unit.

No patients’ surgery procedures were suspended as a result of irregular power supply, she added.

“I want to say that we did not record any mortality for that period,” she said. “We had transformer issues for about two weeks and our standby generator was on the ground. Surgeries were not cancelled and mortality was not recorded. Unfortunately, it’s quite saddening that people are propagating these stories to tarnish the image of the hospital.”

Meni explained that the hospital used to have an old generator to supplement the power supply from the national grid. In December, a new power generating plant was acquired and the electricity supply became constant. Then a transformer was faulty. She said it was fixed in two weeks while the generator served the hospital throughout the period. She noted that they had to ration the power supply and could not provide it on a 24-basis because of the cost of diesel.

“We managed to run the hospital,” she said. “All the procedures were done; the testing was done. As we were coming out of that, we got the story of 14 babies dying. If 14 babies are dead, maybe the mothers of each child should come out and tell us.”

Meni says the allegations are untrue. She attributes the false information to a plot to tarnish the image of the hospital’s current Chief Medical Director, Prof. Henry Ugboma. He was recently re-appointed for another 5-year term.

She said the past seven months have been difficult as some people within and outside the hospital environment do not want Prof. Ugboma hence taking to social media to say things to tarnish the image of the hospital to bring him down.

“So, this is just a fight against the chief medical director because anybody that gives such information should be able to give it a backing,” she said. “Who sends a story without writing a name? They said, medical officers. Where? People just use social media since it is the fastest way of spreading information to tarnish and defame the image of an institution like ours. We are a teaching hospital. We have trained professors. There are a lot of things that we do in the hospital so bringing this one up is quite saddening for us.”

She added that the UPTH practices and maintains the world’s best medical standard which has made it one of the best medical centers in the South-South and Nigeria at large.

“The public should disregard that information. UPTH has been on the ground and has serviced people for a long time and we are still committed to serving humanity so this message is not correct.”

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