The story of our Lady of Lourdes Hospital complex, Ihiala, is not one for just a day. Our story may not have found a better and more interesting time to be told than as we are here gathered to celebrate the healing powers of our creator through the firm establishment of this institution as a beacon of hope to our people in times of sickness and the darkness of ignorance.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital complex, Ihiala, is historically the brain-child of the early missionaries who came to the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha. The missionaries brought evangelization to this point of the world through the establishment of schools, hospitals and dispensaries, where the sick and the suffering were treated for free or at minimal charges. They did not limit their spiritual concerns when they settled at Ihiala in 1927, but extended Christ’s loving sympathy, mercy and relief to the suffering masses. They assisted the government in the training of qualified health workers, improved sanitation and were role models and great encouragement to the people.
So moved with compassion for the people in 1930s, Bishop Joseph Shanahan and his successor, Bishop Charles Heerey, both of blessed memory, established dispensaries under the expert management of the Holy Rosary Sisters. The dispensary at Ihiala was then later raised to a maternity hospital in 1936.
Motivated by the people’s massive response to the health care delivery services, the need for more manpower supply became evident. As a result of this, a training school was established in 1942 for the training of Grade 2 midwives. The Hospital at this stage was recognized as a fullfledged hospital and was given its name, “Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Ihiala”.