At Tamam lab, the less privileged get free services
AbdulsalamAbubakar is a 65 year old Laboratory Scientist and a farmer who set up the first private laboratory in Borno State which he is now using to run charity services. state government as a Laboratory Scientist. they used the opportunity to train 15 medical
Not long after he started work, he joined laboratory experts from the state that were the Dikwa Development Association, a lacking before. socio-cultural association meant for the “They were fresh graduates and we sent development of Dikwa Emirate where he them for courses; we registered them as hails from, adding, “Soon I realized that qualified medical laboratory scientists until the association was a good platform for we were sure that the hospital had enough me to pay back to the community the good manpower. During that process, knowing gesture done to me. But my problem then full well that I had no pension or gratuity was, that the several advocacy visits, public since I retired prematurely, I decided to go sensitization and several activities of the into farming. I have about 2,500 orchards association required a lot of time. now.
“On the other hand, my attention was “Part of my services to my community always required in the hospital, sometimes was when I was made the Secretary of the even after I had closed from work, I will still be committee charged with the responsibility recalled to come and carry out some tests on a patient. I had no time for the association. I then decided to retire from the services of the state government and concentrate on charity work through the association.
“That was when I established Nur Medical Laboratory which was the first private laboratory in the state. We have been doing very well. We were among the last five recipients of Borno Merit Award chaired by former Governor Muhammadu Goni,” he said.
He said following strike actions and work going on at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital then, the management of the hospital engaged his laboratory as partners in developing the hospital’s laboratory where he said
When Abdulsalam Abubakar started his primary education at Junior Primary School, Bama before proceeding to Senior Primary School in the same city, and later got admission to Government Secondary School, Ganye in present day Adamawa State before he was transferred to Federal Government College (FGC), Sokoto, where he obtained his HSC (Higher School Certificate) before going to ABU Zaria to study his Laboratory Science, his biggest surprise was that his parents did not pay anything for his education.
Abdulsalam said rather it was government that was transporting him to school and back, feeding him, accommodating him while in school, providing him with books, uniform and even paying him pocket money all from public funds, adding, “That was a gesture too much to overlook. Since then I have been looking for how to repay my community and the country at large.”
He said when he was a student of Government Secondary School Ganye in 1966, the Premier of Northern region and Sardauna of Sokoto visited the school and went to his class and asked him to locate Sokoto on a Nigerian map hanging at the corner of his class.
“Unfortunately for me, I pointed to Kano on the map and the Sardauna said, ‘Kai Dan Babarbare, you will be transferred to Sokoto to know where it is. Not too long, the Sardauna was killed. I thought everything was over. But two years later, in 1968, I was transferred to Sokoto where I got my HSC on that order of the Sardauna. It was amazing,” he said.
That incident made Abdulsalam Abubakar to develop more interest in the civil service and so, when he graduated from ABU Zaria in 1976, he returned back to Borno State where he took up appointment with the of building Juma’at mosques at Dikwa and Gulumba. We constructed the big mosque in Dikwa with only N17,600. It was commissioned by the late Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Mustafa Umar El-Kanemi. I was also the Secretary of the movement for the creation of Dikwa State.
“I was also the Secretary of the committee for the formation of community banks in Dikwa. We were able to establish three community banks; one each in Bama, Dikwa and Ngala. These community banks took off successfully and were progressing until the capital base of community banks were raised. The various communities could not afford to meet up with the minimum capital requirement and so the banks folded up,” he said.
During the 1999 transition to civil rule, Abdulsalam Abubakar was appointed as Assistant Caretaker Committee Chairman for Bama local government that handed over to an elected council. He is now running his private laboratory, Tamam Medical Laboratory where most of the services there are rendered on charity.
“I have already established my farm from where I am making money for the upkeep of my family. Everything we are doing here is just to help the less privileged and my people. We attend to sickle cell patients’ right from screening to checking their blood levels free. We also attend to people willing to check their blood pressure free, urine and ante-natal for pregnant women. There are some organizations that are helping us with regents and papers.
“We are also visiting all the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the state where we run free malaria and other tests. Anyone we find positive is treated free by UNICEF. Though NEMA and other donors are providing the IDPs with mosquito nets, the effect of mosquitoes on the people at the camps is much,” he said.
A laboratory staff at the General Hospital Maiduguri told this reporter that majority of the patients referred to the laboratory in the hospital for test that attracts payment opt to go to Tamam laboratory where they are attended to free and return with accurate results.
Fatima Goni, a mother of two, said Tamam laboratory renders free services to patients and even support them with transport money if they complain that they do not have money to transport themselves back home, saying, “Most women and children go there for tests.”
Abdulsalam Abubakar attends to a patient
Abdulsalam Abubakar works inside his lab