The Senate at the plenary on Wednesday summoned the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, demanding accountability on the funds allocated to the health sector by the Federal Government over the years and also the cause of the poor state of teaching hospitals in the country.
During the debate on a motion moved by Senator David Umaru and entitled ‘Alarming Report on Poor Quality of Services in Nigerian Teaching Hospitals,’ the lawmakers took turns to decry the poor services rendered by public health institutions.
While some lawmakers alleged corruption and mismanagement of resources in the health sector, others noted the poor welfare of health workers.
Granting prayers of the motion, the lawmakers mandated the Committee on Health to “conduct an emergency investigative hearing on the state of health care services in our teaching hospitals and report back to the Senate within one week.”
They also resolved to “summon the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, to brief the Senate on the current state of facilities and health care services in Nigeria’s teaching hospitals.”
While the Senate urge the Federal Government to adopt a policy on subsidising the medical expenses of patients with terminal ailments such as cancer and kidney failure, the chamber urged the government to “immediately adopt short and long-term measures that will holistically address the challenges confronting our teaching hospitals and retool them for excellent tertiary health care services in the country.”
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, blamed the decay in the country’s health facilities on corruption.
Saraki said, “It is a very important and urgent intervention that is required from us. So, we need to get the minister here as quickly as possible. As you all have said, it gives one a great concern when you consider every year, a budgetary allocation is made. No matter how inadequate it is, surely it should be adequate enough to be able to have a facility that patients can be taken care of.
“Where patients are lying on the floors, surely, is a big shame to the institution. Surely, as you all rightly said, it is corruption. It means that the majority of these budgetary allocations are not used for what they were allocated for, they must have been used for something else. That is why I am happy that the next item we have (on the Order Paper) is the need to strengthen the auditor-general’s office.
“Honestly, we will begin to clearly oversee monies being sent to MDAs will continue to have this kind of problem. How inadequate can funding be that there is no light, patients are lying on the floor but, meanwhile, they are getting allocations everytime? And they are getting revenue too. There is a serious problem. I hope we will be able to see what steps we can take urgently.”