By Udo Akam-Alo, ABAKALIKI
The Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki(AE-FETHA), has launched an Electronic Database Capturing Machine to enable easy record keeping of staff attendance and dedication to duty.
Speaking during the launching at the hospital complex, the Chief Medical Director of the health institution, Emeka Ogah, described the exercise as an epoch-making event and the preamble of such in the institution after several efforts to make it a reality.
He posits that it is time saving and best for official use especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic, where social distance and other NCDC protocol must be observed.
He also noted that a good number of the device has been dispersed to various units of the health sector for easy and rapid capturing and further expressed optimism that other institutions will take advantage of the device.
According to Ogah, “It is an effort making event in the sense that this is the first time we are going to launch this in this hospital and I believe with the type of Machine we have, it will be the first of its kind in the whole country especially in the tertiary health institution.
“The essence of this is for us to make sure that staff come to work. It is like an auditing exercise and this will help to do service delivery.
“We have 17 points so that the number that will be dedicated to the machine will be reduced. We have for clinical centre, administrative sections both in FETHA 1 and FETHA 2.
“In 2015 when I took over, we had board management meeting and it was in our mind that we should have an electronic-based data capturing machine that will serve as daily register for staff.
God being so kind on our side, we were able to actualize it this year.
“It is a face capturing machine, you don’t need to hide any contact with that machine, you don’t need to press it. All you need to do is to go close to the distance so that the machine will now capture your face and mention your name and record all your data and the time you clock in. The time you will leave, the same thing will still happen.
“If ordinarily you will write your name on the daily attendance register, that will warrant clustering but in this case there is no clustering; you will just pass, it will capture you and you will go to your place of work, another person will pass, in less than 5 seconds you are captured and you will leave.
So the fear of people clustering together, not maintaining social distance will not arise.
“I am happy because it is something other sectors including health centres in the country will emulate because it is an easy way of keeping staff record in the hospital.”
In an interview with newsmen, the Representative, Financial Forensic Studies for Diagnostics (FFDS) Company, Enugu State, Maduka Emmanuel Chinonyerem, confirmed that the contract was awarded to them and expressed hope that the machine will not be tampered with.
“The contract was awarded to our company to provide this facial recognition attendance machine for AE-FETHA and I happen to be the lead engineer working on it.
“After downloading the data, I handed it over to the Director of AE-FETHA and the management has arranged with some members of the hospital manning the device in their respective departments in case of any alteration(s).” Maduka said.
Reacting, some members of the institution including the Manager in Administrative department, O.G Uzodinma; the Servicom Officer, Dr. Nnadozie Ugochi, Chairman of the Senior Staff Association; Comrade Nwafor Godwin, Prof. O. U. J Umeora in charge of the Gynaecology department, amongst others, said the exercise is a welcomed development that will awaken the punctuality of the staff and enhance diligence to duty.