Nigerian state governors on Thursday approved the release of $1 billion from the country’s excess oil account to the government to help fight the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency. The account holds foreign reserves from excess earnings from sales of crude. It currently totals $2.3 billion, according to Nigeria’s accountant general. “We are pleased with the…
It was Vikram Patel who rightly theorised that there is no health without mental health; mental health is too important to be left to the professionals alone, and mental health is everyone’s business. On this note, we beam our searchlight today on the recent drug paucity and scarcity of other medical items at the State House Medical Centre. Sometime in August, 2017, it was all over different media platforms about the sudden handicap of drugs and other medical equipment at the Villa Clinic, we thought it was fiction. However, following the recent reports from various media houses concerning the continuous handicap, lack of drugs and other medical items at the State House Medical Centre, and also, the recent public outburst by the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, one begins to ask some pertinent questions.
The first question that bugs the mind is whether this is not the same State House Clinic which it’s outrageous and baffling budget allocation of N3.87 Billion in 2016, far outweighed the other 16 teaching hospitals combined. Federal teaching hospitals cater for the health needs of millions of Nigerians, train medical doctors and other health professionals for the nation, while also serving as top medical research centres.
This is a clinic that provides medical services to the President, Vice-President and their families, aides, members of staff of the State House and other entitled public servants. It is also a training facility for house officers and other medical personnel. Does this mean that these privileged Nigerians have been very sick at the clinic all this while, in such a way that this has led to drug scarcity and disappearance of other medical items at the hospital? What is really happening? Can the management of this hospital really account for the number of drugs that were brought to the hospital and the number of documented patients that were admitted and treated at the hospital since 2016 till date?
According to Punch Newspaper, investigations showed that the clinic is gradually becoming a shadow of its old self, despite the humongous and outrageous allocations to the clinic in 2016 and 2017.
The Newspaper further reported that patients were now being asked to go and buy drugs from outside as they were no longer available in the centre. Mostly hit, are patients with kidney problems who are currently undergoing dialysis in the facility.
Although, some of them are expected to be undergoing the dialysis at least twice a week, the centre’s management has been cancelling such exercise lately, therefore putting the lives of the patients at risk.
In some instances when they attend to them, the patients are made to come with some of the items the doctors will use for the exercise.
“The clinic cannot even boast of ordinary paracetamol. Paracetamol was included in the list of drugs they asked me to go and buy recently. Before now, they were giving us drugs.” a patient lamented.
This was the same clinic that the Permanent Secretary, State House, Alhaji Jalal Arabi, had, while defending the State House’s Budget before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs, and members of the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties disclosed that N3.2bn of the budget was earmarked for the upgrade of State House Clinic to a Centre of Excellence. The budget for the State House Medical Centre included N3.219Bn proposed for the completion of ongoing works as well as procurement of drugs and other medical equipment.
HABA! What is really happening? Are Nigerians cursed, or are we the cause of our problems? Scarcity of drugs and lack of other medical items? What are the anti- corruption agencies waiting for? Nigerians are crying and begging for answers. Are they waiting for special marching orders from Mr. president before they can carry out their statutory duty?
Aisha Buhari fires her own canister
Mrs. Buhari while speaking at the opening of stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N), held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, recently, decried the poor state of State House Medical Center.
The first lady who called out the State House Medical Center, Chief Medical Director, Dr. Hussain Munir, at the event, described Nigeria’s health sector as very pitiable and unfortunate. She was irate that she could not get medical treatment at the Clinic few weeks ago when she took ill, because, the x-ray machine was not working despite the huge funds allocated to the clinic. Unbelievable! According to her, she refused to travel abroad for the treatment and had to make do with a foreign-owned hospital in Abuja and wondered what the fate of the peasant Nigerian who is ill would be in such circumstances. Oh, gracious God! Hear her:
“Before I commence my speech, I’ll like to be realistic to say a few words concerning health in Nigeria and health delivery system in Nigeria. It’s very very very poor, sorry to say that. I am happy the MD of Aso Clinic is here, is he around? Dr. Munir (Dr. Hussain Munir, consultant cardiologist and the Chief Medical Director at State House Medical Centre) or his representative? Ok, he is around.
“Ok Dr. Munir, I’m happy you are here. As you are all aware for the last six months, Nigeria wasn’t stable because of my husband’s ill health, we thank God he has fully recovered now.
“If somebody like Mr. President can spend several months outside Nigeria, then you wonder what will happen to a common man on the street in Nigeria. “Few weeks ago, I was sick as well, they advised me to take the first flight out to London, I refused to go. I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us.
“If the budget is N100 million, we need to know how the budget is spent. Along the line, I insisted they call Aso Clinic to find out if the X-ray machine is working, they said it is not working. They didn’t know I am the one that was supposed to be in that hospital at that very time. “I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 percent. What does that mean?
“So, I think is high time for us to do the right thing. If something like this can happen to me, no need for me to ask the governors’ wives what is happening in their states. This is Abuja and this is the highest seat of government, and this is presidential villa. One of the speakers has already said we have very good policies in Nigeria. In fact, we have the best policies in Africa. Yes. of course, we have, but the implementation has been the problem.
“So, we need to change our mindset and do the right thing. I’m sure Dr. Munir will not like me saying this but I have to say it out. As the Chief Medical Director, there are a lot of constructions going on in this hospital but there is no single syringe there what does that mean? Who will use the building? We have to be good in reasoning. You are building new building and there is no equipment, no consumables in the hospital and the construction is still going on…”
She has lamented the lack of drugs and equipment at the State House Clinic, insisting that the management must explain the use of funds allocated to Aso medical facility. With Aisha shooting, as usual, from all cylinders, are we still in doubt of the deep nadir our country has since sunk in terms of moral probity and public accountability?
Accord concondiale: The continuous search for Nigeria’s elusive unity (12)
We shall today continue our discourse on the above subject matter, which we have temporarily suspended for a while now, to enable us tackle key urgent national issues. We shall beam our searchlight on Herbert Samuel Macaulay, which we had earlier started and hereafter continues below. We had already looked at his early life and arrival at the national scene.
Herbert Samuel Macaulay’s unrivalled achievements (continues)
Macaulay was one of the first Nigerian nationalists and for most of his life, a strong opponent of many colonial policies. As a reaction to claims by the British that they were governing with “the true interests of the natives at heart”, he wrote: “The dimensions of “the true interests of the natives at heart” are algebraically equal to the length, breadth and depth of the whiteman’s pocket.” In 1908, he exposed European corruption in the handling of railway finances and in 1919, he argued successfully for the chiefs whose land had been forcibly acquired by the British in front of the Privy Council in London. As a result, the colonial government was forced to pay compensation to the Chiefs.
In 1909, he came out publicly against the prohibition of spirits into Nigeria, which he felt, will ultimately lead to reduced government revenues and thereafter increased taxation. Macaulay also found himself in opposition to the colonial government in three major issues that were prominent in Lagos life during 1900-1930. The issues included the proposed water rate, selection of the Oba of Lagos and the Imam of the Lagos Central Mosque. Macaulay opposed colonial taxation to fund water supply in Lagos on the grounds of being taxation without representation. He was a major supporter of the House of Docemo (Dosunmu) in Lagos. Largely because Lagos was not under indirect rule, the Oba of Lagos unlike many of its counterparts in other areas of the country, was stripped of many of his traditional authorities. Macaulay supported the House of Docemo in its opposition to the water rate and colonial acquisition of Lagos lands. He also galvanized the Ilu Committee composed of the Oba of Lagos and traditional chiefs in Lagos to oppose some of the colonial policies.
Macaulay’s profile in Lagos was enhanced by the Oluwa Land case. Amodu Tijani Oluwa, a traditional chief, had challenged the compulsory acquisition without compensation, of his family land in Apapa. He lost his appeal at the Supreme Court and took the case to the Privy Council in London. Macaulay was Oluwa’s private Secretary on the trip to London. Oluwa’s case was supported by the Ilu Committee and the Oba who were interested in the protection of their family lands in Lagos. In London, Macaulay presented himself as Oluwa’s private Secretary and as a Representative of the Oba and in the capacity, he made statements which the colonial authorities felt were inimical to their interest. In 1920, the Eleko, Eshungbayi, was ostracized by the British because he refused to disavow allegations against the colonial authorities made by Macaulay in London.
To further his political activities, Macaulay co-founded the Nigerian Daily News, a platform he used to write opinion pieces such as “Justitia Fiat: The Moral Obligation of the British Government to the House of Docemo”. He also wrote a piece titled “Henry Carr Must Go”. From 1923 to 1938, he became a prominent figure in many important political issues in Lagos, including the elections into the quinquennial elections into the Legislative Council, triennial elections to the Lagos Town Council, and the Headship of the House of Docemo. (To be continued).
Thought for the week
“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.” (P. T. Barnum).