The centre currently offers free medical services to patients. It 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.
The Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr. Jalal Arabi, last week said the decision of the management to seek the commercialisation of the centre, among others, was to boost its revenue and augment the appropriation it receives from the government in the quest for better services.
But the wife of the President who berated the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Hussain Munir, yesterday expressed disappointment over poor services in the hospital despite huge allocations by government over the years.
Mrs. Buhari also took a swipe at the managers of the clinic, insisting that there is the need for them to tell Nigerians how the N3.89billion budget for the clinic last year was expended before it was reduced to N331.7millon this year.
“If the budget is N100million, we need to know how the budget is spent,” she said at the opening of a stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) organised by her pet project, Future Assured.
At the event attended by wives of the governors of the 36 states, development partners, primary health care coordinators, among others, Mrs. Buhari lamented: ”You are all aware for 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.
“A 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 it is spent. Along the line, I insisted they call Aso Clinic to find out if the x-ray machine was working. They said it was 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 per cent. What does that mean?
“So, I think it 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 the 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 but the implementation has been the problem. So, we need to change our mindset and do the right thing.”
President Buhari’s daughter, Zahra, also recently took to her Instagram handle @mrs zmbi, on Saturday, where she raised concerns over the poor state of the hospital despite the allocation in the 2017 budget.
She specifically called out the permanent secretary in the State House, Arabi to provide answers as to why simple drugs as paracetamol, and consummables as syringes and gloves were not available, leaving patients and staff to individually source those items.
Using the hashtag#statehousepermsecplsanswer, she asked: “Why isn’t there simple paracetamol, gloves, syringes, why do the patients/staff have to buy what they need in state house clinic?
“More than N3 billion budgeted for state house clinic and the workers there don’t have equipment to work with? Why?
“Where is the money going to? Medication only stocked once since the beginning of the year? Why?”
While clearly avoiding responding to the president’s daughter, the permanent secretary said the management would, among other things, seek the commercialisation of the centre .
“It is the only health centre in Abuja where patients are not required to pay any dime before consultation. In other government hospitals in Abuja, patients are required to pay for consultation, treatment, laboratory tests and others but that has not been the case with the State House Medical Centre.
“The centre offers free services, nobody pays a kobo for hospital card, consultations or prescriptions and this has taken a toll on the subvention the centre receives from the government.”
The permanent secretary further explained that “We have some of the best equipment in the country. For instance, to maintain the MRI and other scan machines, we spend close to N2 million monthly. Yet we do not charge a dime for those who require MRI scans in the clinic,” he said.
Arabi said the proposed reforms would ensure that those eligible to use the centre are National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)-complaint with their Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) or primary health provider domiciled in the clinic.
“This is another way through which we can boost revenue generation at the hospital and this has started yielding results because the stark reality is there is no free lunch anywhere,” he said.
Arabi dismissed allegations of misappropriation and withholding of funds meant for medical supplies at the centre.
In the 2016 budget, the State House Medical Centre got 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.
Nigeria records 500% increase in COVID-19 infections, in 2 weeks, says NCDC
Nigeria recorded a 500 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks across the country.
This is contained in a statement issued and signed by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, in Abuja.
Adetifa attributed the 500 per cent increase in infections in the country to the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants.
“As of Dec. 19, Nigeria reported 223,887 cases and 2,985 deaths in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The country is now in a fourth COVID-19 wave.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as NCDC and its partners, are therefore intensifying risk communication efforts to remind Nigerians of the risk we face and need to take collective responsibility to reduce transmission of the virus.
“The response to COVID-19 requires a whole-of-society approach. Therefore, individuals, families and institutions also need to play their part in protecting each other by ensuring adherence to COVID-19 public health and social measures,” he explained.
He also disclosed that the NCDC was launching its yuletide season campaign themed #CelebrateResponsibly as part of the #TakeResponsibility campaign which began in February 2020.
“#CelebrateResponsibly focuses specifically on measures Nigerians need to take to protect themselves and loved ones from COVID-19 during this period.
“The #CelebrateResponsibly campaign targets the entertainment industry, transport industry, religious settings, media, security personnel, young people, and the general public to promote adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures during this festive period,” he added.
He urged Nigerians to adhere to recommended measures by the agency and other public health authorities, as they celebrate Christmas and New Year.
“Please avoid all non-essential travel within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings especially when held indoors with full capacity and poor ventilation.
“We strongly recommend outdoor events with physical distancing, compulsory use of facemasks, and provision of handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers.
“Please make use of every opportunity provided to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” he advised.
The NCDC boss noted that the government had made the COVID-19 vaccines available for all eligible citizens and booster doses available for those previously vaccinated.
The Celebrate Responsibly campaign which spans from the Christmas holiday through to the start of the new year, he said, emphasises the responsibility of all Nigerians, the government, private sector, institutions, associations, communities, families and individuals in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Religious leaders and heads of institutions, organisations and businesses, he added, are urged to enforce public compliance to COVID-19 preventive measures in their jurisdiction.
“COVID-19 continues to threaten the lives and the livelihoods of Nigerians therefore we must not let our guards down this festive season.
“We urge Nigerians to take all precautions necessary to ensure we and our loved ones live to celebrate many more events and festivities.
“The campaign includes the production of key messages, audio and visual materials for wide dissemination.
“The NCDC urges all individuals, traditional and religious leaders, business owners, the media, transport workers and other institutions and sectors to join the campaign by adopting the key messages and sharing within their networks,” he said.
Nigeria records three more cases of Omicron variant, total now six
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Tuesday announced the discovery of three additional cases of the Omicron variant in the country.
The agency had on Wednesday detected the first three cases of the variant. With Tuesday’s discovery, the total number of the omicron variant cases in Nigeria stands at six.
Last week, Canada after it said it detected three cases with travel history to Nigeria, banned travellers from the country.
Also, on Saturday the United Kingdom placed a travel ban on Nigeria following the discovery of 21 Omicron cases with travel history to Nigeria.
On Tuesday, the NCDC, in a statement signed by its Director General, Ifedayo Adetifa stated that three additional cases of the variant had been discovered.
He said, “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, i.e., the Omicron variant, in Nigeria. In addition to the three cases announced earlier on 1st December 2021, this brings the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant detected in Nigeria to six .”
The NCDC also added that it had been notified by the UK of seven cases of the omicron variant which were linked to passengers from Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Governor’s Forum has condemned the stigmatization of Nigeria by the United kingdom and Canada by placing travel ban on the country, describing it as precipitate, unfair and discriminatory.
Omicron: Canada issues travel ban on Nigeria, others
Canadian authorities have issued a travel ban on Nigeria in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The announcement was made on Tuesday December 30. Other countries affected by the travel ban include South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt.
Canadian Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra, has said foreign nationals who had been to these countries in the previous 14 days would be temporarily banned from entering Canada.
Alghabra added that Canadians and permanent residents who have been in the 10 countries, even those who are fully vaccinated, must also be tested before entering Canada.
This is coming as the Nigeria Center for Disease and Control (NCDC) announced that two cases of Omicron variant had been detected in the country.
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