By Anthony Ogbonna
First Lady and wife of Nigeria’s president, Aisha Buhari has called for a probe of the State House Medical Centre over poor health facilities in the hospital despite the huge budgetary allocation to it.
Mrs. Buhari who condemned the “lack of facilities” at the hospital during a programme in Abuja on Monday equally lamented the total or dearth of some necessary hospital facilities such as syringe, drugs and equipment needed for saving lives. She lamented that she wanted to do an x-ray at the clinic few weeks ago but was told the X-ray machine was not functional.
The call by the wife of the President for a probe on the hospital is in line with her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to free every sector of the Nigerian polity of corruption.
Recall that ever since the administration of President Buhari who, upon election, vowed to kill corruption in Nigeria, so many high-profile corruption cases have been exposed with billions recovered back to the national purse.
Mrs. Buhari who spoke at the opening of a two-day stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition organised by her pet project, Future Assured in Abuja said the ongoing renovations at the clinic was baseless because the hospital lacked the equipments to save lives.
According to her, “Before I commence my speech, I’ll like to be realistic to say a few words concerning health in Nigeria and health delivery system in Nigeria. It’s very very very poor, sorry to say that. I am happy the MD of Aso Clinic is here, is he around? Dr. Munir (Dr. Hussain Munir, consultant cardiologist and the chief medical director at state house medical centre) or his representative? Ok, he is around.
“Ok Dr. Munir, I’m happy you are here. As you are all aware for the last six months, Nigeria wasn’t stable because of my husband’s ill health, we thank God he has 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-ray 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 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 presidential villa. One of the speakers have 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.
“Going back to the same health issue in Nigeria, as a result of spending several months by the President outside Nigeria, a 40-year-old man who was still living in his father’s house, created a …. and that is a major set back for the country and the health sector did not benefit.”