HISTORY OF ST. LUKE’S CLINIC
St. Luke’s Clinic is a medical unit set up to cater for the health needs of the seminary community. The objective is to assist seminarians, formators and lay staff to live out their vocations with minimal health problems. Though, the members of the team were not exclusively in Catholic Volunteer Force, yet they offered their services selflessly. The founder of the centre is Dr. Evaristus Udora, who having come in contact with many sick seminarians thought of the possibility of having a place in the seminary where sick seminarians could be taken care of, with minimal distraction while only those with special cases would be referred to specialists.
In 1977, Dr. Udora with the encouragement and co-operation of the then Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. P.D. Akpunonu, set aside a room in St. Peter’s hostel as clinic/dispensary. In this he was extremely successful, and very soon transformed a one-room infirmary into a busy flourishing medical centre with all the facilities of a mini-hospital. Thus, consultation commenced with a team of nurses and some seminarians – who still assist at the clinic as infirmarians. The foundation members of the medical team were Dr. E.P.C. Udora, Dr. Chike Akunyili, Prof Nwakor, Prof Udekwu, Misses P. Okoroji, J. Ohale, W. I. C Ifem, MrsOrefo, L. Okpala, M. Ekeneme, J. Anyamene, P. Egbuciem, J. Anigbo and Miss C.J Ugochukwu (then a student). The consultation then was only on Mondays.
By 1979, more nurses and doctors had joined the group when some of the foundation members left. Early in 1980, the clinic operated 2 days per week that is on Mondays and Fridays. Later, the seminary authorities expanded the clinic to 2 rooms. The Papal visit of 1982 also helped to bring the Clinic into the limelight.
When Pope JohnPaul II visited in 1982, the Bigard Medical Team constituted the medical personnel that rendered medical help to people. This papal visit revealed the need for a medical centre within the seminary. In this year also, the clinic was expanded to three rooms for consultation, treatment and dispensary respectively. The impact made by the clinic during the papal visit set the stage for the establishment of a proper medical centre to serve the students and staff of the seminary. Mrs. Iwuanyanwu donated her clinic for sick seminarians who needed surgery free of charge with Dr. Chike Akunyili as the surgeon with other theatre nurses.
THE PRESENT SITE OF ST. LUKE’S CLINIC
As the number of seminarians continued to increase, there arose the need to erect a separate bungalow with the much needed facilities. This project was spearheaded by Dr. Chike Akunyili under the supervision of Very Rev. Fr. Peter Damian Akpunonu as the Rector and Rev. Fr. Peter Eche as the bursar. It was completed within six months with grant from benefactors in Netherlands. The architect for the project was Arc. P.C. Mbanugo. At its completion, the Rector entrusted Dr. Chike Akunyili with the responsibility of buying all the medical equipment. The medical centre was built according to Dr. Akunyili’s specifications to include consulting rooms, a big card room, general ward with capacity for 7 beds and four private rooms, general office, a laboratory, treatment room and so on. The theatre was so well equipped that priests including the Rector, seminarians and staff had surgeries there with no complications. There was no need again for seminarians to go to hospitals since they could get the best medical attention at St. Luke’s Medical Clinic. St. Luke’s Medical Centre was formally blessed and commissioned in November 1985 in a concelebrated Pontifical Mass by 4 bishops.
In 1988, when Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu hosted the All Nigerian Major Seminaries Games, St. Luke Clinic was very useful; the medical personnel and other volunteers, including 13 student nurses from School of Nursing UNTH Enugu and infirmarians provided full medical and first aid services at the venues of the games. As at 31st December 1989, St. Luke’s Medical Centre had in her list over 40 medical personnel.
At some point in time, however, St. Luke’s Medical Centre started dilapidating such that it needed an urgent renovation. In 2013, the then Rector Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Theophilus Ukoro Igwe began a total redesigning and reconstruction of the clinic that transformed it from a bungalow to a one storied edifice that it is today. During this transformation stage the clinic was temporarily moved to the Seminary Auditorium pending its completion. During this period, surgeries were held at St. Leo’s Hospital by Dr. Chike Akunyili. The structural work of this ultramodern edifice was completed by mid-2015 under the then Rector.
In October 2015 the incumbent Rector Very Rev Fr Dr. Albert Ikpenwa, undertook the task of furnishing and equipping the clinic according to modern specification, as well as putting finishing touches to what still remained, thus transforming the edifice into a full-fledged hospital. The project which cost millions of naira was partly sponsored by our foreign partners. At the moment, St. Luke’s Clinic has a well-equipped theatre, functional laboratory where all manner of tests are conducted, standard consulting rooms, recovery rooms, physiotherapy section, general ward with beds and private wards, doctors/nurses lodge, conference hall, court yards with interlocked path ways, washing machine for washing theatre linens etc.
The solemn blessing and official opening of the New St. Luke’s Clinic took place on Monday October 9, 2017 by His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, accompanied by Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the governor of Enugu State and Most Rev. C. V. C Onaga the bishop of Enugu diocese.