The President’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, who spoke at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on “Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N)” at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, has lamented the poor state of healthcare services in Nigeria, including the State House Clinic, Abuja.
Her daughter, Zahra, through her Twitter account, had also condemned services rendered at the clinic few weeks ago.
Zahra had pushed for the management to give account of the N3 billion allocated to the clinic.
Reacting to the allegations of poor services at the clinic last week, the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Jalal Arabi, said the clinic was being repositioned for efficient services. But confirming the state of services at the clinic yesterday, the first lady urged those in charge to do the right thing.
Lamenting the lack of drugs and equipment at the clinic, she said the management must explain the use of funds allocated to the medical facility.
Mrs. Buhari, who called out the State House Medical Centre’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Hussain Munir, at the event, described Nigeria’s health sector as very poor.
She was angry that she could not get treatment at the State House Clinic few weeks ago when she fell sick and did not want to travel abroad for such ailment.
According to her, she was shocked that the x-ray machine was not working despite the huge funds allocated to the clinic. She had no option but to make do with a foreign-owned hospital in Abuja as she wondered what would be the fate of an ordinary Nigerian in the states, who falls sick, if such circumstances could happen in Abuja.
She queried why the clinic management would be constructing new projects when medical items like syringes were not available for patients at the facility.
She said: “Before I commenced my speech, I will like to be realistic and say a few words concerning health and health delivery system in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian health sector is in a very, very, very poor sorry state to say the least. I am happy the CMD of Aso Clinic is here. Is he around? Dr. Munir or his representative? Ok, he is around.
“Ok Dr. Munir, I’m happy you are here. As you are all aware for the last six months, Nigeria wasn’t stable because of my husband’s ill-health. We thank God he had fully recovered now.
“If somebody like Mr. President can spend several months outside Nigeria, then you wonder what will happen to a common man on the street in Nigeria.
“Few weeks ago, I was sick as well. They advised me to take the first flight out to London; I refused to go. I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us.
“If the budget is N100 million, we need to know how the budget is spent. Along the line, I insisted they call Aso Clinic to find out if the X-tray machine is working. They said it was not working. They didn’t know I am the one that was supposed to be in that hospital at that very time.
“I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 per cent. What does that mean?
“So, I think it’s high time for us to do the right thing. If something like this can happen to me, no need for me to ask the governors’ wives what is happening in their states.”
Mrs. Buhari added: “This is Abuja and this is the highest seat of government, and this is Presidential Villa. One of the speakers has already said we have very good policies in Nigeria. In fact, we have the best policies in Africa. Yes of course, we have but the implementation has been the problem.
“So, we need to change our mindsets and do the right thing. I’m sure Dr. Munir will not like me saying this but I have to say it out. As the Chief Medical Director, there are a lot of constructions going on in this hospital, but there is no single syringe there. What does that mean? Who will use the building? We have to be good in reasoning. You are building new building and there is no equipment, no consumables in the hospital and the construction is still going on.”
According to her, the stakeholders meeting is to build alliances that will help strengthen advocacy for RMNCAH+N at the state level.
She said by creating a strong coalition, it would in turn increase awareness on the importance of improving RMNCAH+N, promote advocacy for better service and increased utilisation of RMNCAH+N services.
The event was organised by her pet project, Future Assured. It had state governors’ wives, development partners, primary healthcare coordinators and other stakeholders in attendance.
The highlight of the event was the investiture of governors’ wives as advocates of RMNCAH+N and their signing of commitment forms.