By Gabriel Olawale
LAGOS—Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye has raised the alarm over what she described as ‘acute shortage’ of personnel in the agency, stating that the shortage has impacted negatively on the delivery of their mandate.
Mojisola who registered her displeasure while receiving members of the Senate Committee on Health who were on a tour of Federal Health Institutions in Lagos State said the current state of the agency facilities was not encouraging to comply with international standards in regulations.
According to her, “The last recruitment exercise by NAFDAC was in 2016 and since then many people had left service without being replaced. Right now, we are in short of staff like crazy and we are waiting for Head of Service of the Federation to recruit more personnel in 2019.
“Majority of our equipment are obsolete and you cannot use old equipment for analysis, so we need to re-equip. The World Health Organisation, WHO, came to inspect our facilities and they gave Yaba facilities almost zero percent because the Centre is too small and the equipment are not there.
She disclosed that the agency received less than 0.1 percent of what they requested for from the Government, “In 2017, we had a proposal of N6.1 billion out of which N164 million was appropriated and at the end only N82 million was released.”
“In 2018, we had a proposal of N8.4 billion out of which N229 million was appropriated out of which we have only received N22.9 million which happened to be first batch.
“We requested for 50 operational vehicles to perform our mandate, up till now none have been released. We don’t have computers and we requested for 1,000 computers and up till now we have not got any and this is important instrument for us to compute our data.
Responding, the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuosho, commended Adeyeye for her efforts in revamping the agency.
The committee also visited on-going projects at the LUTH, Idi-Araba, the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Meta, Federal Neuro-Psychiatrist Hospital, Yaba and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi.
Speaking with journalists at the end of the exercise, Tejuosho said the general observation in all the places visited was the problem of prompt release of fund to the hospitals.
“Most of them have only received about 10 per cent of their 2018 capital budget, which makes it difficult for us to blame them for lack of performance. We cannot expect them to do a lot with only 10 per cent of the fund they need for the whole year.
He also promised that his committee would ensure the improvement of the budget appropriation for the hospitals, as well as appeal to the Federal Government to make enough funds available to the health sector.