From the time of the early Catholic Missionaries to Nigeria, health care services and education have always been an important element in the spread of the Good News of Salvation. The story was same for the early missionaries to Onitsha- the bank of the River Niger in 1985. On arrival, they realized the pressing need of the people and established dispensaries to render health care services to the sick, poor and the dying as they preached the gospel of salvation.
The Holy Rosary Maternity unit started in 1941 at Amaobi junction, between Emejulu Street and Mission Road Onitsha, at Mr. Amaobi’s house. The building used for the maternity was rented to the sisters. The maternity was started with eight beds in the main ward, a private room of two beds and a one room for the nurses. The first Matron of the hospital was one of the Holy Rosary Sisters, Sr. Mary Imelda.
Deliveries in the 1940’s
An average of fourteen deliveries per day was recorded. As a routine, the new babies were taken to the Cathedral for baptism to ensure the spiritual security of the fetus in the uterus; intra-uterine conditional baptism was administered before transferring the patients. The hospital has continued to maintain a pride of place in antenatal/maternal care and child welfare services in the state.
The post-civil war period
When the Nigeria civil war ended in 1970, the Holy Rosary sisters who were expatriates, were compelled by the Federal Government to leave the country – a very sad and tragic event in the Nigeria history indeed. Consequently, the then Archbishop of Onitsha, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Francis Arinze and the proprietor of the hospital, appointed the Immaculate Heart Sisters (indigenous Sisters) to manage the hospital. He also established the Board of Governors for the hospital. The hospital has continued to maintain a pride of place in healthcare delivery especially in antenatal\maternal care and child welfare services in the state. The hospital, which initially started as 8 bedded maternity home, is today over 150 bedded Specialist Hospital.