Rhetoric, Reality: ‘Mere Consulting Clinics’ And Buhari’s Inability To Manage Aso Rock Clinic

The Oasis Reporters

Monday, November 14, 2017

Nigeria’s Health Minister (left), President Muhammadu Buhari rehearses his speech.

Those familiar with the politics of President Muhammadu Buhari from his military incursion and adventurism days would recall the coup speech that heralded his being announced as head of state on December 31, 1983 by Brigadier Sani Abacha who read as reason for the overthrow of the civilian administration of President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari, that

“Our hospitals have become mere consulting clinics”, among his litany of corruption lamentations.

Hopes became dashed, when in another coup speech, twenty months later, the same Sani Abacha in announcing another change lamented once again that our hospitals “are still mere consulting clinics”.

So what changed?
Nothing.
In fact Nigeria’s health institutions got worse in the twenty months of General Buhari’s governance, with frightened specialist doctors fleeing the country in droves abroad for greener pastures. Medical tourism entered the Nigerian lexicon.

President Olusegun revamped health facilities such that he underwent medical checks in the Aso Rock Clinic but his successor, President Umaru Yar’adua treated himself more in Germany and Saudi Arabia until Jonathan succeeded him to take Nigeria’s teaching hospitals and the other federal hospitals to a new level of development that brought hope.

Considering Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2018 budget on health, with Key Capital Spending on Health in the 2018 budget being N71. 11 billion with a recurrent expenditure for the payment of salaries and overheads put at N269.34 billion, what are the true chances of properly supervised implementation, if in two years and five months, the clinic that is supposed to attend to his and his family’s health needs is in a disreputable state, with him seeking medical attention abroad even for simple ailments?

In a recent news report, “the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives probing Aso Rock Clinic declared that the life of President Muhammadu Buhari and his family members would not be put at risk following its deteriorating state.

The committee, led by Hon. Magaji Aliyu, said there was need to have an effective health management in place in case of an emergency.

Magaji stated this during an afternoon interactive session with 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, at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

The committee chairman and other lawmakers expressed grave concerns over the presentations of both ministers earlier, who claimed ignorance of activities of the State House Clinic, frowned at the poor management of the facility by previous administrations”.

The obvious propaganda in the report that previous administrations failed to manage the facility could not escape attention, because past regimes, except Yar’adua did use the facility.
And if after two years of hefty budgeting yet the government of President Buhari could not find a drug as basic as Paracetamol there going by the revelation of the wife of the president, then indeed they should blame the current regime and for once, stop shifting blames.

He 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.”

With just one year and six, months for the 4 year tenure of this regime to lapse, what hope is there that Nigeria’s health care facilities would still not be referred to as “mere consulting clinics”?

 

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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