By mid 19th century, colonial rule was finally entrenched in the Abakaliki area after series of punitive expeditions which were aimed at subjugating the people under the colonial tutelage of Britain. This period also marked an important turning point in religious crusading in the area. Notably, missionaries capitalized on the relative peace of the colonial period to embark on extensive evangelical work through which most of them established a strong foothold in part of Igbo land.

 In the Abakaliki area, the people’s reaction to this wave of Christian missionary evangelism depended upon the particular socio-economic and political interests of the society. Basically, the Abakaliki people received the Catholic Mission in their areas because of the belief that they could help in finding solutions to certain socio-economic problems in their society.

Hence by the 1930s and 1950s, the catholic mission that established themselves in Abakaliki area had succeeded to a large extent not only in establishing themselves, but also in carving out niche for themselves through the establishment of schools, churches and hospitals.

Basically, the most remarkable outcome of the missionaries activities in the area was the opening of churches in different parts of the Abakaliki area. As clearly pointed out by C.O Olughu, this of course was followed by conversion of the indigenous peoples to Christianity.

Moreover, the missionaries, through the establishment of schools and hospitals, created the pathway through which other European activities and ways of life came into Nigerian. The missionaries provided medial services to the Abakaliki community. It is significant that the history of medical services in Abakaliki began with the arrival of the Catholic missions in the area.

The catholic missions made great strides in social life of the Abakaliki people who gained immensely from the acquisition of western education and improved medical services that were provided by the missions.

Notably, the presence of missionaries in the Abakaliki area was a direct result of the European philosophical damages in which a more humanitarian world view was becoming better understood by and more acceptable to the general masses. As indicated by T. Falola and Co, European humanitarians felt that the slave trade could not be eradicated simply by force or by using naval patrol boats alone. They felt that efforts would have to be made at striking at the root of the entire system itself. Their aim in using missionaries was two fold: to promote legitimate commerce between Europe and Nigeria and to win Africans over to the Christian faith.

In the Abakaliki area, the catholic missions through the instrumentality of the social institutions they established, impacted much in the life of the people. Schools, hospitals and churches were established of which the most notable was the mile four hospitals.

In view of this, the work will present a comprehensive report on the history of mile four hospital with the bid to examine its development from cottage hospital to a general hospitals. The historical development of the hospital would be used as a case to critically appraise the contributions of the catholic missions to the social development of the Abakaliki people. 


In a bid to examine the historical development of Mile Four Hospital from a cottage to a general hospital, it is pertinent to bear in mind that colonialism was an influential institution in provision of health services especially in the area of providing quality health care. Basically as the world proceeds into the new millennium, the problem of achieving a sustainable development in area of health care, happens to be one major problem facing Abakaliki.

Besides, a cursory analysis of the negative impact of colonialism in Igboland, as presented by some schools of thoughts tend to portray the notion that colonialism was an evil that left no good seed in the area. On the other hand, Euro-centric oriented scholars tend to emphasize on the humanitarian motives that propelled Christian missionaries to invade the area.

In view of this, efforts will be made in the work to ascertain the level of contributions made by the catholic missionaries in the area of health care and how their contributions have stood the test of time in the area. Hence, in this study of “A history of Mile Four Hospital.

From cottage hospital to general hospital, it will be necessary to come to terms with certain problems and attempt to resolve them in the course of this study.

The problems this study seeks to address are presented by asking the following research questions, when established? Who established the hospitals? Why was it establish? And how     is     the  nature     of    the       hospital management/administration? 


The totality of this study is to help the readers to delve into understanding the humble beginning of the hospital and hence appreciate its role of growth and development overtime.

As a result of the critical evaluation and analysis of available records from the hospital, the findings of this research work will help in sensitizing government decision or policy makers in the state on the need to support the hospital with funds and in administration.

Practically, the study will help to keep the readers at abreast with the challenges, successes and failure of the hospitals in its bid to live up to the expectations of the founders. In deed, this will help to mobilize those in positions of authority towards assisting in the qualitative management of the hospital.

Basically, the study of Mile Four Hospital with the attendant efforts to trace its development from a cottage hospital to a general hospital is very significant in our modern society. In deed, it is an effort to contribute to the on-going attempt to reconstruct the past history of the colonial institutions that lake influenced the African societies tremendously.

The work is a brief synopsis that tend to portray how colonial institutions stood the test of time in the area. It also shows how Mile Four Hospital came into existence, as well as the success and failure recorded therein.

Indeed, this study is of immense importance because it is being carried out at a time when the hospital is at the cross roads of her development.

Academically, this study is of immense academic importance because it will provide a scholarly tool that will widen the frontiers of knowledge and give directions to students of history and the medical sciences for further research on the historical and medical development of the hospital.

Moreover, the study will help in painting a mental picture of the contributions of the catholic missions to the improvement of the peoples health came.   Again, it is practically relevant and is in accordance with the areas priority on the encouragement of government approved health care providers.

Finally the knowledge of the historical origin of the Mile Four Hospital can go a long way to sensitize the people on the fact that their medical well beings is in their hands.

Readers may appreciate the pro-activity and empathy of the catholic missions which left to the establishment of the hospital and consequently resolve to contribute meaningfully to the development of the hospital. 


Generally, this work focuses on the Mile Four Hospital which is presently situated at Ohatekwe community, Ishieke, Abakaliki. Efforts will be mad to concentrate on its historical origin through the arrival of the catholic mission to Abakalikii, as well as the nature of health management and administration at the hospital.

Basically, the work will revolve around the Abaklaiki area, but other areas of relevance as it affect the subject, will receive considerable attention. Moreover, discussion on the subject matter would be based on mainly on the health sector, with emphasis on the history of Mile Four Hospital.

In deed, the work of carrying out existence research of the magnitude cannot escape being bedeviled by many constraining factors. The major limitation of this work is the dearth of materials suitable for the write up. This limitation constitutes constraints or factors that in one way or the other, affect adversely the quality of the research in terms of validity of collected data, quality of analysis and generalisability of study.

Nevertheless, efforts would be made to make concrete use of available sources and to complement or supplement the sources, so as to attain an appreciable level of objectivity in the work based on available data. In doing this, a rigorous method of analysis and systemization of data was adopted in the work so as to present to research findings in concrete an concise historical terms.


The purpose and objectives of this work is to present a literature that throws some light on the history of Mile Four Hospital, with the intent of showing its historical development from seemingly cottage hospital to a recognize general hospital. This work is meant to be a study of the contributions of the Christian catholic mission to the well being of the people.

In the work efforts will be made to trace the coming of the catholic mission to Abakaliki, as well as the contributions of early Catholic Bishops, such as Bishop MCgettrick; to domesticate the church through intensive evangelism and provision of socio-religious institutions that affected the lives of Abakaliki people.

Furthermore, the work will contain critical expositions on the humanitarian, religious, social and historical antecedents that propelled the catholic mission to establish Mile Four Hospital. In the same vein, the gradual take off of the hospital through the establishment of a leprosy centre will be narrated.

Again, the stringent challenges and sultry success witnessed in the history of a missionary hospital out to cortical the dangers of leprosy in Abakaliki during the colonial ear, conscious efforts will be made in this work to explain the reactions and responses of certain international health bodies or agencies to the humanitarian cause being pursed by the catholic mission in what came to be known as Abakaliki Diocese.

Bearing in mind the contemporary emphasis on qualitative health care for all, this work will also aim at assessing the level of health management and administration at Mile Four Hospital overtime. Emphasis will be laid on the role of the state government in supporting the hospital.

In all, this work is aimed at tracing the origin of Mile Four Hospital and to expose its historical developments attendant successes and failures, as well as its health management and administration in the course of time.


For purpose of clarity, some of the worlds used in this text are further defined below:-

TB:               Tuberculosis is a chronic infection

disease caused by bacteria generally referred to as mycobacterium complex.

NTBLCP:       National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control


M.D.T:           Multi-Drug Therapy

MB:               Multi-bacillary leprosy

PB:               Paucibacilary leprosy

INH:             A drug tablet use for treatment of Tuberculosis.

GLRA:           Germany leprosy relief association

Streptomycin Injection: Is an anti-drug injection use for treatment of Tuberculosis.

HIV:              Human Immune Virus

AIDS:            Acquired Immune deficiency syndrome

MDG:            Millennium development goal.

PPP:             Public private partnership

WHO:            World health organization

CIDA:            Department for international development agency.

USAID:         United States agency for international development

Leprosy:        Is a chronic infection disease that mainly affects the skin peripheral nerves and mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract. It is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium leprae.

Leprae:         Transmission is through droplets from coughing and sneezing. The most important rout of exit is through the nasal discharges. The average incubation period (that is the period between injection and the appearance of diseases) is between two and five years.

Patches:       Leprosy is often a patch of skin that is lighter in colour than the surrounding skin.

Impairment: Is an abnormality of structure of function in any part of the body e.g. loss of sensation of the cornea, ulcer of the thumb, weak eyelid, fixed claw, dropped foot etc.

PAL               People affected by leprosy


Scholarly works on Abakaliki and the missionary activities are reviewed below;

A.E, Afigbo, Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo History and Culture1. The text focuses on the arrival of the catholic missionaries in Abakaliki and their effort to establish churches, schools, hospitals and other social infrastructures in Abakaliki through which most of them established a strong foothold in part of Igboland.

It also provides us a convenient background in our studing of the Mile Four Hospital, Abakaliki which is situated in Izzi. By 1930s and 1950s the Catholic Missionaries had also established themselves and carving out niche for themselves through the establishment of schools, churches and hospitals.

C.O. Olughu The European Enterprise in Nigeria: The Slave Trade, Exploration Period, Missionary Activities and Mercantilism portrays a fact that man is saved by faith that made the work of converting non-Christians seem extremely urgent. That the establishment of churches and schools helped them in conversion of the indigenous to Christianity6. The coming of the colonialist, provided medical services to the Abakaliki community, like the establishment of ‘Mile Four Hospital for treatment of lepers, a prevalent disease in the area. The coming of the colonialists saw health as an important ingredient of leadership. This may be connected with the saying, a sick populace means sick leadership’. That Europeans has done much in improving health conditions of the Abakaliki people. It also has it that historically a point of Africa was under populated as a result of health challenges but was curtailed by the European presence.

  1. Falola, in history of Nigerian, the text made a serious emphasis on humanitarian felt that using force or naval patrol boat alone could not prevent slavery expedition in Nigeria. The missionaries aimed at using two folds: to promote legitimate commerce between Europe and Nigeria, and to win African over to the Christian faith.

S.I. Okoro, “Christianity in Nigeria” emphasizes on missionaries efforts in imparting western education through churches on the Abakaliki people. That to an extent improved social life of the native people of the area were improved on their social life.

Mmuo, P. Msgr. M.A brief history of the Catholic church, Abakaliki Diocese. The text focuses on the arrival of the Roman Catholic Missionaries at Ndebe beach in Afikpo under Abakaliki division and their efforts in establishing schools, churches and hospitals, with Late Bishop Thomas MGettricks and other Rev. Sisters of Mary, St. Theresa’s Catholic was opened in 1938, St Mary’s Afikpo in same year. Between 1940 and 1957, nine other parishes were opened in Abakaliki Division.

The Annual report of national archives portrays the fact that, the Catholic Mission was noted for her tremendous work in health care especially the care of lepers. It also acquainted us with the knowledge of the out break disease of small-port epidemic in Abakaliki. It made us to understand the difficulties and failure associated to the establishment of the leper settlement in Abakaliki.

Captive N.C. Denton D.O; Annual Report on Abakaliki division Ogoja province, OG532, Vol. 5; January 12th 1935, File No. AIDIST 6/1/59. National Archives, Enugu, p. 25-29.

The Annual Report indicates efforts of the catholic mission in expanding its activities and building of churches and schools in Abakaliki area. That most of its established schools were aspired to standard IV and gradually turn into churches for easy spreading of Gospel to indigenous people.

Moreso, it explains the extent of development of social amenities, like provision of wells and access roads in the area. Feeder roads, were constructed from Alike to Ebonyi River. It highlighted on the degree for which lepers were treated, success and failure witnessed in Abakaliki.

Mr. A.T.E marsh, Annual Report on Abakaliki Division, Ogoja province January 16th 1937, File No. AIDIST 5/1/54. P. 21-81.

A.O Makozi and G.J Afolabi Ojo the history of the Catholic Church in Nigeria traces the cradle of Roman Catholic Mission from the Onitsha Ecclesiastical province, which gradually reached Ogoja in Calabar in 1934, through the instrumentality of society of St. Patrick Fathers. First members had arrived in Nigeria four years earlier October 18th 1930. It also shows that evangelism reached maturity in 1955, with the creation of Ogoja Diocese. It explained that there was a considerable process in conversion of indigenous people of Abakaliki to Christianity. That in the diocese for instance, there were only ninety two Christian families in 1939, but now population of indigenous converts or Christian has been increased to 8, 475 in 1978.

Ebonyi Dove. Attaining development through humanitarianism. The journal reveals (Mrs.) Dr. Eunice Ukamaka Egwu’s humanitarian felts towards lepers, TB patients and disabled people in Mile Four Hospital. She gave out gifts of food, cash and other materials to the inmates in the centre.

Adelusi et’al TB and leprosy programme (NTBLCP) explained local, state, federal, government, and international bodies effort to curtail and combat the disease of leprosy and Tuberculosis in the country. It expresses the extensive campaign of the Federal Ministry of Health against the eradication of TB and leprosy which constitute the health problems of many Nigerians. It is as a result of this that the government invite many international organizations notably World Health Organization (WHO) that recommended (MDT) for the treatment of TB & leprosy diseases.

These international bodies are partner with the Nigerian government to fight against the disease of leprosy and TB. The journal also portrays the danger of AID, in treating the diseases of leprosy and TB. That the AID has become a problem in the treatment of TB & leprosy as it is fueling the burden of TB and poses great challenge to its diagnosis and management. The record HIV prevalence among TB cases in Nigeria is estimated at 27% (WHO, 2009). The manual helps to educate and direct the health workers on their daily routine toward achieving the objective of the hospital.

  1. St. Patrick Mile four-hospital Abakaliki, 1946-1966, annual report. The annual report reviews overall gradual take off of the hospital through the establishment of leprosy centres by the Late Bishop T. McGettrick. It also express further development services of the hospital which include the opening of maternity section to care essentially for the pregnant leprosy patients. Finally, it portrays first hard information about the hospital since its inception to date p. 1-2.
  2. Egbuka, F.N, Annual Report of St. Patrick Mile Four-Hospital, Abakaliki 2006 p. 3-4, The Report reviews overall development of the centre and government support including statistical staff of the hospital and it activities over the years. It also reviewed overall effort of government in provision of financial grant for improvement and development of the centre to the expected standard. In 2007, Dr. Mrs. Eunice Ukamaka Egwu assisted the hospital by providing it with Anti-Retroviral therapy with the support of AIDS Relief. Completion of new nurses quarters, including CD4 and chemistry Auto analyzers in the maternity Lab. Etc.
  3. St. Patrick’s Mile Four-Hospital Abakaliki, 2007, annual report of development, 2007, The journal made emphasis on provision of facilities, such as CD 4 and chemistry auto analyzers in the maternity lab. It also expresses some challenges witnessed in controlling of diseases of leprosy as money was the cardinal problems.
  4. St. Patrick Mile Four Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State Nigeria, 2008, Annual Report, The report reveals the outcome of intensive campaign of the hospital against Tb and leprosy in Ebonyi state, and treatment success rate of 90% 13%, which was best ever recorded in history of the hospital. It subsequently emphasis on the positive impact of PMTCT with the introduction of anti-Retroviral Therapy, which aid for prevention of mother to child transmission of p. 3.4.
  5. St. Patrick’s Mile Four Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi state Nigeria, 2009. Annual report, the report reviews a fact that there has been decrease in number of people affected leprosy (PALS) in the hospital. Finally, it also express efforts of the hospital in flight of ART/HIV, P. 4-10.

St. Patrick’s Mile four Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi-state Nigeria, 2010, annual report. the report examine input of Germany leprosy and TB relief association (GLRA) and St. Francis leprosy guide from 2007 to 2010, it also reveals efforts of community based rehabilitation (CBR), information and training of CBR committees p. 3-4.

  1. St. Patrick 2011, Mile Four Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi state-Nigeria, 2011, annual report. the report shows World Health Organization (WHO) has made much appreciable elimination target through regular campaign. It also expresses positive effect of MDT – Multi drug therapy use in curbing of the diseases of leprosy and TB; and government effort in providing of Gen- expert machine and free medical/surgical care P. 2-5.

All the paper reviewed did not focus on the history of Mile Four Hospital which is the overall emphasis of the present study.



  1. Records books of the Hospital 1946-1960, Annual Report of Development Services, Mile Four Hospital, Abakaliki.


  1. Achi, Emmanuel D; farmer, C. 69 years, interviewed at Ohatekwe Ishieke Izzi, Abakaliki 20th November, 2011.
  1. Ezeajibo Emmanuel, H.R.H, farming, C. 75 years, interviewed at Ohatekwe, Ishieke, Izzi, Abakaliki 5th September, 2011.
  2. Njoku, Rev. Fr. Senior lecturer, C. 73 years, interviewed at EBSU, Ishieke Annex, Ohatekwe, 10th February 2012.
  3. Mmuo, very Rev. Patrick, Apostolate, C. 73 years, interviewed at St. John Parrish Okpaugwu, Abakaliki, 14th April. 2012.



  1. Captain N.C. Denton D.O; Annual Report on Abakaliki Division Ogoja province, OG532, Vol. 5, January 12th 1935, file No. AIDIST 6/1/59. National Archives, Enugu, P. 25-29.
  2. Mr. A.T.E Marsh, Annual Report on Abakaliki Division, Ogoja province, January 16th 1937, File No. AIDIST 5/1/54, p. 21-22; p. 9-81.


  1. A.E Afigbo, Ropes of sand: studies in Igbo History and Culture, (University Press Limited Nigeria,1981.
  2. Makozi, A.O and Ojo, G.JA; “The history of the Catholic Church in Nigeria Macmillan Nigeria, publishers ltd; Ibadan. 1982.
  3. T. Falola: history of Nigerian2, Longman Nigeria Plc, Lagos, 1991.


  1. Adelusi et’al, Tuberculosis and leprosy control programmes ‘workers manual, Abuja, Federal Ministry of Health, 5th edition, 2011.
  2. T.O Sofola, et’al Tuberculosis and leprosy control programme, (NTBLCP) workers manual, Abuja, Federal Ministry of Health, 3rd edition, 2004.
  3. Mmuo, P. Msgr. M. ‘A Brief History of Abakaliki Diocese 2012. Directory and liturgical calendar (Ordo), 2010.



  1. Olughu, C.O. “The European enterprise in Nigeria: the clave Trade exploration period, missionary activities and mercantilism in “Mgbada C.O (eds), Nigerian Peoples and Culture, Jones Communication publishers, Enugu, 2005.
  2. Okoro, S.I, “Christianity in Nigeria” in Mgbada, C.O and Ugo, C.U.N (ed), Issues in Nigeria peoples and culture, vol. 1 paqon press services, Enugu, paqon press services, Enugu, 2004, pp. 128-137.


  1. Ebonyi Dove, April, 2000, pp. 38-40.
  2. Elechi, disburses 100 million to 5 mission hospitals “citizens advocate,” vol. 7. No 7. June, 30, 2010, P. 3-4.
  3. “Ebonyi government, disburses another 100 million to 6 mission hospitals” citizens advocate, Vol. 7. 15th April, 2011, p. 3-4.


  1. Dr. F.N Ogbuka, Superintendent Officer, Mile Four-Hospital Abakaliki.
  2. St. Patrick Mile Four-Hospital Abakaliki, 1946-1966, p.1-18.
  3. Ibid, 2006 P. 3-4.
  4. Ibid 2007 p.1-9
  5. Ibid, 2008 p. 3-4.
  6. Ibid, 2009 p. 4-10.
  7. Ibid, 2010 p. 2-5.
  8. Ibid, 2011 p. 2-5 


A.E Afigbo, Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo History and Culture,

Nsukka, University of Nigeria Press, 1981, pp. 298-299.


C.O. Olughu, “The European Enterprise in Nigeria: The Salve Trade, Exploration Period, Missionary Activities and Mercantilism ” in C.O Mgbada (ed), Nigeria Peoples and Culture, vol. 1,Enugu, Jones communications publishers, 2005, pp. 143-170.


  1. Falola, History of Nigeria 2, Lagos, Longman Plc, 1991, PP. 55-65.


S.I Okoro, “Christianity in Nigeria, C.O Mgbada, C.U.N; Ugo (ed), and culture, vol. 1, Enugu, paqon. Press services, Enugu 2004, pp. 128-137.


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