Recent disclosure from the 2016 budget has revealed that the Federal Government of Nigeria is proposing to spend far more on capital projects at the State House Medical Centre, Aso Rock, Abuja, this year if the proposed budget is approved as presented to federal lawmakers, than it would provide for the 16 Federal Teaching Hospitals belonging to it.
If the proposed budget eventually receives approval, the State House Clinic will get N787million more in capital allocation than all the 16 federal teaching hospitals put together.
The State House Medical Centre is a health facility that supplies the healthcare needs of the President, the Vice president, their families, other presidential employees and all those expected to visit the clinic in case of any sickness or any case of emergency. All these people may possibly not be up to one thousand in number.
On the flip side, the Federal Teaching Hospitals serve the health needs of millions of Nigerian residents, in addition to training student medical doctors and other health professionals while also serving as top medical research centers.
Below is a list of capital allocations to the Federal hospitals:
|State House Medical Centre||N3.87billion|
|University of Lagos Teaching Hospital in Lagos||212,539,245|
|Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Kaduna||230,904,795|
|University College Hospital, Ibadan||230,904,795|
|University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu||218,335,908|
|University of Benin Teaching Hospital||212,886,502|
|Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital, Ile Ife||162,622,221|
|University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital||166,802,164|
|University of Jos Teaching Hospital||228,717,880|
|University of Port Harcourt||169,498,392|
|University of Calabar Teaching Hospital||201,082,446|
|University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital||215,151,873|
|Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching hospital, Sokoto||279,000,000|
|Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital||210,380,376|
|Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi||166,188,931|
|University of Abuja Teaching Hospital||198,715,702|
|Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital||229,005,992|
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The capital allocation to the state house clinic however, seems to be a continuation of the usual trend of over-equipping the the clinic with unneeded equipment at the detriment of other federal hospitals.
According to an official at the National Hospital who pleaded anonymity to Premium Times,
“It is unbelievable to see that Buhari is continuing in the tradition of pampering the State House Clinic every year with outrageous capital allocations while teaching hospitals that cater for several millions of people are allowed to rot.”
Also, in a telephone conversation with Premium Times, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Medical Association, Adewunmi Alayaki, stated that government should consider a redistribution of the allocation in order to improve the quality of healthcare facilities available to the ordinary Nigerians.
“The lopsidedness in the distribution of allocations is keyed towards the State House health needs and the rest of the country are now sharing less funds than what is allocated to one health facility.
“I think government should look into that and correct it. Ordinary Nigerians do not have access to that facility (State House Medical Centre) so they should redistribute and invest more in areas where ordinary Nigerians have access to.”
However, the Presidency has acted in response to the negative reactions trailing the N3.87 billion allocation to the State House Medical Centre in the proposed 2016 budget as written in an online news report titled: “2016 Bugdet: Buhari to spend more on State House Clinic than on all Federal Teaching Hospitals”.
In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity on Tuesday night, He described the report as being “simply off the mark and insensitive to government’s efforts to improve medical facilities at home in Nigeria,” explaining that the hospital is not the president’s private property but that it is open to serve the needs of government officials as well as other persons. As penned in the statement;
“We react to the story: “2016 Budget: Buhari to spend more on State House Clinic than on all federal govt-owned teaching hospitals.” This report is not simply off the mark but one that is insensitive to the government’s effort to improve medical facilities at home in Nigeria.
“According to the draft 2016 budget presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, the budget for the State House Clinic is N3.8 billion.
“Contrary to the published newspaper report, the total for health institutions as given by the Director-General, Budget Office is more than N200 billion. The 17 teaching hospitals have more than 50 percent of that allocation.
“Anyone interested can check out the detailed allocations to the teaching hospitals, the federal medical centers and the specialist hospitals owned by the federal government.
“It is also important to explain that the State House Clinic is not the President, or anyone’s personal clinic but one which looks after government officials and many others who are not.
“The increased spending on government health institutions in the current budget should be seen in the light of the administration’s plan to improve medical facilities at home as a way of discouraging overseas trips in search of treatment by citizens which eat away from our foreign exchange.”
Is saying the State House Clinic is not the President’s, or anyone’s, but one which looks after government officials and many other non-officials, really a statement of fact, or is it just a nice way to get Nigerians to stop talking?
Would an ordinary citizen of Nigeria be allowed access into the Aso Rock for medical help?
We wonder too!!