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3 Nov 2017

National Assembly Committee Uncover Rots in State House Clinic in Aso Rock, Abuja

Just after the wife of the president, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari raised an alarm over the deplorable state of Aso Rock after billions were budgeted for its operations, the National Assembly has uncovered more rots in the state house clinic.
State house clinic

The Ministry of Health and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have been ordered by the Hon. Magaji Aliyu-led House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the deplorable state of the Presidential Clinic on Thursday, to provide a detailed account of the State House Clinic.

The Nation reported that the House of Reps members expressed the willingness to ensure the effective management of the State House Clinic which according to them, is the first point of call in case of health-related emergency at the office of Nigerian President.

The members expressed concern over the disclosure in the report presented by the State House Permanent Secretary Jalal 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.”

He further stated: “Sadly, some of them were discovered to have spent close to 7 years doing a 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 percent of the State House workers and their spouses are enjoying free medical services, at the expense of the government

“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,” he said.

It was learnt that on October the 12th, 2017, following a motion sponsored by Henry Archibong (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and the outcry of the wife of Mr President, Aisha Buhari, the House resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to probe the deplorable condition of the State House clinic.

At the interactive session were Ismaila Kawu, Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (House); Ita Enang, Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate); Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health and representatives of Muhammad Bello, FCT Minister, held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

Both the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire and the FCT Health Secretary, Mrs Amanda Pam while appearing before the committee said the state House clinic is not directly under the Ministry of Health and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Magaji Aliyu, chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee and other lawmakers were surprised over the presentations of both Ministers, as they denied knowledge of activities of the State House Clinic.

Aliyu said: “The summary of the whole thing is that the clinic is just there, it is not supervised and is not under anybody.

“The Ministry of Health and FCT said they are not aware, meaning the hospital is just there.. I want all information on the clinic. We can’t afford to risk the life of Mr. President and somebody should be responsible.”

But Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health put things in perspective for the lawmakers. He said he does not know who is in charge as the clinic is not directly under Federal 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 practising in the clinic. The choice of who heads the clinic lies on the President. It is the prerogative of the President.”

The Clinic, he however said, is supposed to be operated along regular hospitals.

Amanda Pam, Secretary, FCT Health Secretariat while speaking explained that the State House Clinic was not under the FCT administration. “12 general hospitals and four teaching hospitals excluding State House Clinic are being supervised by the administration.”

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