- Health not free in same institution
The Senate Committee on Health has today charged the management of the National Hospital Abuja that medical tourism in favour of Nigeria must start from the National Hospital for its strategic location and pride of place in the nation’s capital during its oversight visit. Addressing the management of the hospital, Senator, Dr. Lanre Tejuoso- Ogun central and Chairman of the Senate Committee on health stated that, “we decided to commence oversight; an impromptu one at that to see things for ourselves to enable our committee contribute meaningfully to the 2016 budget with appraisal of 2015 performance. We are here to know the problems, we are here as partners in progress because we want to take the health sector to new levels in sync with the policy and focus of this administration”.
Outlining the budget performance, the Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital Dr. J. A. F Momoh told the senate committee that the institution recorded 50% performance for the 2015 fiscal Year in terms of capital. Momoh narrated that the National Hospital is building a Cancer and Trauma Centre which received only N600 million in 2014. He lamented obsolescence equipment in the hospital which is as old as the hospital (16 years). He stated that the Hospital has about 300 specialized beds, 6 dialysis machines, burns centre, MRI laboratory, a helipad with planned expansion for cardiac/ surgery interventions and informed the committee, the role played by the National Hospital in emergency response and treatment of burns and accident victims of terrorism in Abuja and north east states recently.
The committee decried the spate of foreign exchange leakage due to medical tourism by Nigerians to India and other countries due to underdeveloped Medicare and urged the national hospital to enlighten the public on medical services and heights it has recorded to reverse the trend. The CMD informed the senate committee on its strides in in-vitro fertilization procedures at a minimal cost as obtained elsewhere.
Speaking on the income generation, the CMD disclosed the drug revolving fund from patients to the tune of a Hundred million naira monthly which facilitates payment to vendors/ contractors and services but added that the institutions is sensitive to the poor having written off the sum of N24 million debt for indigent patients last year.
The committee urged the management to embrace Public Private Partnership (PPP) to attain optimal service delivery and capacity citing examples of institutions like The University College Hospital Ibadan since government alone cannot facilitate funds to run the Hospital optimally.
The committee inspected facilities in the Hospital like the Cancer centre, MRI unit, Burns and trauma centre among others.