'Nigeria Needs Hospital for Presidential Treatment'
As the controversy over President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's continued stay in a Saudi hospital on medical grounds continue to reverberate, House of Representatives yesterday took a swipe at the deplorable state of hospitals in Nigeria and declared that Nigeria deserved a health institution that should provide presidential treatment.
Speaking during an oversight tour of the National Hospital, Abuja, Chairman, House Committee on Special Duties, Samson Osagie, said it was appalling that at 49, the country lacked a health facility that should provide adequate health care for the office of the President.
He noted that with the resources available to government, Nigerians would not have any need to seek treatment in foreign nations and called for increased funding of hospitals in the country and the establishment of a “five star” hospital for the nation.
“It is disturbing that at 49, we still run out of the country for needed check-up. We have the resources but application is the problem. We should have a five-star hospital where presidential treatment should be carried out.
“We believe that the National Hospital deserves more than it has in terms of infrastructure. The National Hospital is a strategic health institution and deserves more in terms of funding”, he said.
The committee, which was reacting to the demand for better funding by the hospital management also flayed the quality of work done in some of the structures under construction in the hospital which it said was sub-standard.
“We needed to come and see what is going on to know why you are asking for more funds. Though long overdue, it is good to see that infrastructure development is on track. Medical facilities must be in order for a hospital to function. We must emphasise that we cannot take anything less.
“We are at the season of budget making. National Hospital is one of the foremost hospitals in the country. We are compelled to ensure that you get the required funds. The assessment of 2009 budget is on and it will determine the budget for 2010 for the hospital. We are here to get an assessment of what you did with the budget last year. This will determine our next line of action”, he said.
In his remarks, Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr Segun Ajunwon, thanked the lawmakers for responding to their call for more funding and pledged to put resources made available to the hospital to good use.
Meanwhile, the management of the hospital also reacted to media reports that it was involved in the N253.7 million contract scam and payment of 15 per cent mobilisation fee to contractors.
Instead, it insisted that no mobilisation fee was paid to any contractor. Payment, it said, was made on the basis of valuation certificate raised by the architect on job done.