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From PAUL ORUDE, Bauchi
Weeks after Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara visited the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, patients he paid their medical bills are running out of patience with the management of the hospital.
Dogara who was in Bauchi State to flag off roads construction in the state on behalf of the Federal Government, visited the hospital Friday, May 5, 2017,where he paid medical bills of patients.
Speaking when he met the management after a tour of the hospital wards, he said: “Together with our contingent from Bauchi State in the National Assembly, that is our senators and the entire membership from the House of Representatives, including few of our colleagues who responded, we were able to put together, the sum of N2.5 million to assist patients. It is not for the hospital, it is for the patients.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Mohammed Alkali, confirmed to Saturday Sun in his office on Monday May 15 that the money had been released. Alkali said Dogara sent the money to the hospital through three federal legislators-Hon. Aliyu Musa (Bauchi), Dr Sani Abdul (Kirfi) and Hon. Ibrahim Bala (Katagum) and that the management of the hospital was working on the best formula to ensure the disbursement.
While the management of the hospital claims it was working on a favourable formula on how the donation would be disbursed, the patients and their families were alleging being kept in the dark.
Tales by patients
Speaking with our correspondent in Bauchi, five of the patients whose medical bills total N1.2 million pleaded with the management of the hospital to consider their conditions and release the money fast.
Ali Shehu is the father of Fatima Shehu. The 13 year old girl kidney patient, whose medical bills come to N66, 000 is one of the patients Dogara paid their bills. When Saturday Sun correspondent visited the hospital, Fatima whose two legs are still swollen, was in a pitiable condition as she laid on her bed almost lifeless but for her almost silent groans.
The sick girl’s father Shehu Ali, who revealed that his daughter has been undergoing dialysis at the hospital, wondered why it is taking long for the management of the hospital to release the money to the family as the cost of her treatment was taking its toll on them.
“I have spent over N150, 000 on her treatment”, her father who was not by Fatima’s bedside during the Speaker’s visit, said.
“I have been buying drugs when she was hospitalised three months ago. My money is finished. I have seven children and life is hard for us. When I heard the news that the Speaker saw my daughter and decided to help us, I was happy that Allah has answered our prayer”
Ali said he couldn’t contain his joy when his wife explained to him. After seeing Fatima’s condition during his unexpected visit to the hospital, Dogara was moved to foot her medical bills.
“I was happy because I didn’t have money to continue her treatment. I have sold many valuable things. I am from Zamfara State but we had to relocate some months ago to Bauchi after cattle rustlers stole 20 of my cattle. I have spent all my money on Fatima’s sickness, now we don’t have food to eat in the house.”
Ali said he is unhappy that the assistance given by Dogara to his family to give them succour and save his daughter is being frustrated by the management of the teaching hospital.
“I don’t know what they are up to. They are not telling us anything. I am sad. I have to go and beg to raise N1400 today (Sunday May 14) to buy her medication. They are still asking us for money. The hospital is still asking us to buy drugs for her treatment. What happened to the money the Speaker gave for her treatment? Since the Speaker left they have not given me a single dime. I am appealing to whosoever is responsible to please release the money. We are suffering.I don’t want my daughter to die.”
Another patient, Auwal Zacahri from Lanzai in Darazo Local Government
Area of Bauchi State, bedridden for months following a broken right leg and a mysterious illness that struck his other leg, is awaiting his N300, 000. Auwal who had undergone surgery, looked emaciated and a shadow of himself.
Evidently, Auwal, an SSS II student at Government Secondary School, Dambam, has seen the rough side of life as a result of the strange problem that affected his legs. “We have spent close to N340, 000 moving him from place to place,” his elder brother Umar Zachari, told Saturday Sun at the Male Surgical Ward 1, where Auwal is admitted.
“His illness has really affected the family. We took him to Mubi for traditional bone-setting when the problem started but the man treating him noticed there was no improvement so he referred us to Federal Medical Centre Azare and later the teaching hospital. My father has sold his farmland to enable us meet his medical bills. We couldn’t settle his bills at a point. We are seven children and when the Speaker visited and we explained everything to him, he was moved and decided to personally settle the bills. Since then we have not heard anything from the hospital management. We are still buying medication for his treatment.”
On his part, Sergeant Samiala Markus was grateful to Dogara for the visit and for defraying their medical bills.
He said: “I was surprised when I received the news that the Speaker was visiting patients in the hospital and as God would have it, I was privileged to be among the patients he saw that fateful day.
“This is really a memorable day for me. I want other politicians in power to emulate his gesture. He has showed that he is a role model.
He even came to my bedside and shook my hands and spoke encouragingly concerning my health. I lacked words to express my joy. I pray that God will grant him his heart’s desires and elevate him,” the police officer whose caring wife Abigail was by his side,said.
Sergeant Marcus said but for divine intervention he would have lost his leg, when a drunk subordinate shot him on his right leg while on duty. He was pleasantly surprised when Dogara offered N200,000 to settle his medical bills.
He said: “I am so full of gratitude. I have spent so much on this leg.
If not for the surgery and quick response of this hospital I would have lost the leg. But concerning the donation that Dogara made the management has not yet responded. I am hoping they would do so soon to ease the burden on us”
Patients getting impatient
The patients and their families Saturday Sun investigation has revealed, are running out of patience. This was demonstrated by the mother of Shehu Adams, as a 10-year-old girl suffering from stomach cancer.
Although Dogara released N500, 000 for her treatment which would run for weeks, Miss Adams family’s hope that the money would be released to them had been dashed.
Fatima, a pupil of Bakari Dukku Primary School, Bauchi, has been discharged by the hospital. The CMD, Dr Alkali told Saturday Sun that she is expected to report to the hospital at least once a week for her treatment, which would run for up to 20 weeks.
Alkali said Fatima’s mother came to her office demanding the money. He gave an assurance that the money would be used for her treatment, noting that the question of releasing the money to the family does not arise as it was meant for her treatment. He added that after the treatment, whatever is left would be given to the family.