The Medical Social Services Department is a Clinical department under the supervision of the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee. The department shares the mandate of the hospital in the excellent performance of her tripartite functions namely Training, Research and Services. While performing these functions, the department promptly and effectively alleviates the psychosocial problems of needy patients and staff in a conducive environment that fosters training and stimulates ethical psychosocial research. Also, given her enviable reputation as the cradle of the Medical Social Services Profession in Nigeria, the department seeks to maintain her position as the ultimate in clinical service delivery in the country and as the center of excellence for the training of Medical Social Care Workers while collaborating in medical research by highlighting the psycho-social components of medical care. As one of the achievements of the Department, the first and only Journal of Medical Social Work in Nigeria “Social Work Horizon” was initiated by Mrs. Philomena U. Ekpo who was the Head of the Department in 1996.
The Medical Social Services Department (which is the cradle of Social Work in the clinical setting in Nigeria), was established on 1st February, 1957. Subsequently, Mrs. Mary Modupe Omitowoju (Nee NooNoo) who was a graduate of the London Institute of Medical Social Work was employed by the Hospital. After her employment, she served as the Head of the department from 1st February, 1957 to the 12th of March, 1983. Her employment into the Hospital at this time equally made her the pioneer of Social Work in the clinical setting in Nigeria. At the expiration of the tenure of Mrs. Mary Modupe Omitowoju (Nee NooNoo), Rev. Sister Mary Catherine Canty who was of Irish descent and a graduate of the University College Dublin, Ireland, assumed headship of the Department on the 12th of March, 1983. She remained head of the department until her retirement on 30th June, 1994. The list below gives key details on the Headship of the Department from inception till date.
Headship of the Medical Social Services Department from inception
|S/N||Name||Period of Headship|
|1.||Mrs. Mary Modupe Omitowoju||1957-1983|
|2.||Rev. Sister Mary Catherine Canty||1983-1994|
|3.||Mrs. Moteniola Olulembola Faleti||1994-1996|
|4.||Mrs. Philomena U. Ekpo||March, 1996-December, 1996|
|5.||Dr. (Mrs.) Jane Roli Adebusuyi||1996-2012|
|6.||Mrs T.M. Umar||2012-till date|
The Medical Social Services Department is divided into seven operational units under the supervision of Unit Supervisors all of whom report to the Head of the Department. This is to allow for easy coverage, and prompt service delivery to clients. These Units include:
- The Accident & Emergency and Burn Unit
- The Surgical Unit: This covers the Surgical Out-Patient Clinic, Dental centre, Radiotherapy, Family Medicine Department, Staff Clinic and all Surgical Wards.
- The Geriatric Unit: This covers the Geriatric Clinic and Wards.
- The Medical Unit: This covers the Medical Out-Patient Clinic, Haematology Day Care Unit, Special Treatment Clinic, Palliative and all Medical Wards.
- The Paediatric Unit: This Unit covers the Otunba Tunwase Children Emergency Ward, Children Out-Patient Clinic and all Paediatric wards.
- The Psychiatry Unit: This Unit covers the Psychiatric Clinic and Wards.
- The O & G Unit: This Unit covers the Gynaecology Clinic, Ante Natal Clinic and Obstetrics & Gynaecology wards.
The core services provided by the Department include (but are not limited to):
- Mediating between patients and the hospital in sensitive cases.
- Intervening on behalf of Management on Medico-Social issues
- Intervening in clinical Ethical Issues.
In view of these core services, interventions are carried out according to the area of psychosocial needs specified in referral letters. Some of these interventions include:
- Counselling of patients on various psychosocial problems that can hinder their medical treatment.
- Rendering crisis interventions to accident victims by contacting relations, and making provisions for their immediate medical and social support.
- Conducting home visits to assess the socio-economic status of patients.
- Rehabilitation of abandoned patients.
- Provision of Accommodation for patients and or their relations
- Provision of financial assistance to needy patients.
- Intervening in ethical issues e.g. patients who wish to be discharged against medical advice (DAMA).
- Maintenance of Special homes for patients and their Escorts (e.g. Alanu House for Cancer patients on Radiotherapy, Florence Ajimobi Alaanu house and Hostel for patients’ relatives.
- Assisting patients and staff in the provision of foster care/adoption.
These interventions can be further summarized and categorized into four core areas namely:
- Crisis Intervention
- Advocacy & Social Support
- Provision of Accommodation.
Crisis Intervention: This is to provide a safe resolution of crisis and ensure that patients are restored to their pre-morbid equilibrium, thereby increasing the chances of survival. This is applicable to physical, psychological trauma, assault, battering etc.
Counselling: The purpose of counselling is to make patients understand the psychosocial implication of their medical diagnosis, make informed choices on issues affecting their bio-psycho-social milieu, to have access to care and to appropriately utilise available resources.
Advocacy and psychosocial support:
- Advocacy: The purpose of advocacy is to speak and act on behalf of patients by approaching employers of needy patients, relations, social services, clubs, Churches, Mosques, philanthropic social clubs and philanthropists, for support.
- Psychosocial Support: Psychosocial support is carried out to assist needy patients who are challenged with medical, psychological, financial and emotional problems to adjust to their condition. This is carried out by linking patients with existing resources, helping patients to access necessary information that would be useful to them and linking patients up for peer counselling and support.
Provision of Accommodation: The Hospital has certain facilities for the temporary accommodation of patients (especially non-Ibadan residents) who come to the Hospital for non-surgical treatment, surgery or post-surgical treatment as well as their relatives. These facilities are being managed by the Medical Social Services Department and they include:
The Alaanu House: This is a 25 bedded accommodation built by the collaborative efforts of the Ibadan Doyen Lions club and the Hospital Management. The house provides free accommodation for UCH patients on radiotherapy and has been managed by the Medical Social Services Department since 1985.
The Florence Ajimobi Alaanu House: This was donated to the Hospital by the wife of the Oyo State Governor, Chief Mrs. Florence Ajimobi. The house has twelve (12) fully furnished rooms and it serves relatives of UCH patients on the ward at a discounted fee of N500.00 per night.
Hostel for Patient Escorts: This hostel was built by the UCH Management and handed over to the Medical Social Services Department to manage. It can accommodate 20 females and 20 male escorts at a time. The relatives pay N100.00 per day as maintenance fee.
Additionally, Masters Students in the field of Medical Social Works are posted to the department for their fieldwork and practical placement. During these postings, the department ensures that adequate training and exposure is provided to enable the cognitive and experiential development of the students.
Other Activities of the Department
Financial Support to Indigent Patients: Needy patients receiving care in the Hospital are offered financial assistance through the Alanu Fund which is being managed by the Medical Social Services Department of the Hospital. The Alanu fund is generated through donations from philanthropic individuals and organizations. The governing body managing the fund is the Alanu Fund Committee under the headship of Justice B.O. Babalakin who is its president and Prof. J. Lawani who is the Vice-President. Also, according to the constitution of the Fund, the Head of the Medical Social Services Department is the Secretary of the Committee. The Committee also comprises of representatives of the UCH Management, Association of Resident Doctors, Departments of Clinical Nursing, Public Health Nursing, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Representatives of the Lions Club, Rotary Club among others. Summarily, the Alanu Fund Committee ensures that the Fund is judiciously managed.
In addition to the Alanu Fund, the Indigent patient support fund and the Itunu fund are disbursed to benefitting patients by the Hospital Management through the Medical Social Services Department to guide against mismanagement.
Social Work Horizon: This is a journal of medical social work launched on the 26th of October, 2016 and based in the Medical Social Services Department of the Hospital. It is the first of its kind in the area of social work in the country.
The Alanu Concert: This is a yearly activity organized by the medical students of the Hospital towards generating funds for the Alanu Fund.
Jumble Sales: This is also an activity of the department whereby donated items are put up for sales. The proceeds from the sale of these donated items are remitted into the Alanu Fund for the benefit of patients in need.