Drug Scarcity Hits Aso Rock Clinic Despite N3.87 Billion Budget
Despite the N3.87bn allocated to it in the 2016 Appropriation Act, lack of drugs and other essential medical items have crippled operations at the State House Medical Centre.
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.
Investigations showed that the centre located in Asokoro, a highbrow area of the Federal Capital Territory, is gradually becoming a shadow of its old self.
A cross-section of the centre’s patients said that they were now being asked to go and buy drugs from outside as they were no longer available in the centre.
Most hit, it was further learnt, 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.
Many other patients who spoke said the medical centre could no longer boast of “ordinary malaria drugs.”
“The clinic does not even have 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.” another patient said.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, did not pick his calls when our correspondent attempted to get his reaction on Tuesday.
He also did not respond to a text message sent to him on the issue.
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.
Arabi had said, “The budget for the State House Medical Centre included N3.219bn proposed for the completion of ongoing work as well as procurement of drugs and other medical equipment.
“The Medical Centre provides health care treatment for the President and Vice-President, their families as well as numerous civil servants working in the State House and across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government and of course, with due respect, including parliamentarians and members of the legislature in addition to other notable dignitaries.
“Interestingly, Mr. Chairman, on a lighter note, not only those that have been captured here attend (the Medical Centre) there are poor of the poorest that attend because we receive reference from Gwagwalada, Garki, Wuse hospitals.
“So, if they come, we attend to them and interestingly too at no fee at all, we don’t charge.
“The anticipated improvement of the Medical Centre will propel it to serve as a Centre of Excellence and also reduce medical tourism.
“May I also add that the State House Medical Centre, unlike other medical centres does not charge any fees for its services and hence does not generate any revenue for itself.