Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC Nigeria and other debtor countries have been warned by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of risk associated with debt repayment following growing global debt levels. This is even as the IMF has warned that voters’ disillusionment raises the threat of political developments that could destabilize a range of economic policies in…
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The controversy over the poor state of State House Medical Center, has continued with the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, as the latest to speak on the matter.
She lamented the lack of drugs and equipment at the State House Clinic, insisting that the management must explain the use of fund allocated to the medical facility.
Mrs. Buhari spoke at the opening of stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N), which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The First Lady’s outburst came two weeks after her daughter, Zahra, equally called out the State House Permanent Secretary, Mr. Jalal Arabi, on social media, asking him to account for the N3 billion.
However, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr. Jalal Arabi, has also disclosed that plans are on the way to commercialize the center.
He had said the State House Medical Centre (SHMC), which currently offers free medical services to patients, will be repositioned to offer qualitative and efficient services.
The centre 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.
In the 2016 budget, the State House Medical Centre was N3.219 billion which was for the completion of ongoing work as well as procurement of drugs and other medical equipment.
In the 2017 budget, the sum was reduced drastically from N3.89 billion to N331.7 million.
Mrs. Buhari who called out the State House Medical Center, Chief Medical Director, Dr. Hussain Munir, at the event, described Nigeria’s health sector as very poor, she was furious that she could not get 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.
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 ordinary Nigerian who is ill would be in such circumstances.
Mrs. Buhari also queried why the management of the clinic would be constructing new projects when medical items as ordinary as syringes are not available for patients at the facility.
She said: “Before I commenced my speech I will like to be realistic and say a few words concerning health care system in Nigeria.
“The Nigeria health sector is in very, very, very poor sorry to say the least. I am happy the CMD of Aso Clinic is here, is he around? Dr. Munir (Hussain Munir, Consultant Cardiologist and Chief Medical Director) or his representative? Ok he is around.
“Ok Dr. Munir I’m happy you are here. As you are all aware in the last six months, Nigeria wasn’t stable because of my husband’s ill health. We thank God he is 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-tray 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 it’s 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.”
Mrs. Buhari said the event is to build alliances that will help strengthen advocacy for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) at the state level.