The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Jala Arabi, has attributed the lack of drugs at the state house clinic to the large number of patients that come in for treatment at the medical facility.
Recall that on September 9th, Mrs Aisha Buhari, had called for a probe into the management of the budget of the state house clinic after she discovered that the clinic lacked basic medical items such as drugs, syringes, and others. Read here.
The House of Representatives had set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the poor state of the clinic. In a report submitted to the panel, the state house permanent secretary alleged that the large number of patients that visit the hospital resulted in the depletion of drugs at the medical facility.
Part of the report read: “The State House reached an agreement with HMOs with regard to the remittance of all NHIS payments in respect of State House Staff whose NHIS point is the State House Medical Centre. It is instructive, however to note that whereas almost 80% of the personnel serving in the State House access medical services at the State House Medical Centre, only about 20% of them selected the medical Centre as their NHIS point. The implication of the foregoing is that, whereas they access free medical services at the Centre, their respective NHIS contributions go to those medical facilities they selected as their providers, even though they do not go there for any medical service. This explains the quick depletion of the drugs and other consumables due to the very high number of patients being attached.”
The members expressed concern over the report presented by Arabi that out of 329 personnel working in the State House Clinic, 47 non-core medical personnel for several years illegally collected call-duty allowances. According to him, some doctors sponsored by the State House on Residency Programmes (usually 2 years), got their call duty allowances paid “even though they are no longer performing call duties at the Medical Centre.”
The report added “Sadly, some of them were discovered to have spent close to 7 years doing residency, with many changing institutions, as they fail to qualify. In view of the fact that paying doctors on sponsored Training programmed call duty allowance was considered unearned allowances. IPPIS (OAGF) was advised to cease paying them such allowances pending their return to duty from training. This has, however, become controversial and we are reviewing with the assistance of the Federal Ministry of Health who are guiding us appropriately,” Arabi said.
He said despite their failure to enlist on the State House Clinic’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), 80% of the State House workers and their spouses are enjoying free medical services, at the expense of the government.
Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, told the panel that the state house clinic is not directly under the supervision of the Ministry of Health
“The State House Clinic is not directly under my ministry. I don’t know who is directly in-charge. I didn’t say that it is not under anybody, may be under the FCT. It is not unusual that the clinic is not under the ministry, this is also applicable in some states. This is what we met on ground. I am not aware of the status of the training of the doctors practicing in the clinic. The choice of who heads the clinic lies on the President. It is the prerogative of the President.”