A fresh crisis is rocking another high profile healthcare centre in Abuja. According to insiders, the National Assembly Clinic in Abuja has been reduced to a shadow of its past amid crying lack of drugs and equipment.
Rather than serve as a centre of reliable healthcare, alleged lack of drugs have resulted in the death of at least two in the last six months reports said.
Aside from drugs, even medical equipment needed for urgent treatment of patients are often unavailable.
The situation is reported to be so pathetic that at times doctors simply list items patients need to purchase in order to receive treatment.
All this happen despite the budget for the clinic annually.
One insider monitoring the development urged reporters to beam their searchlight on the NASS clinic. “We have a problem here but they are trying to cover it up” the source said.
Recently, Peoples Daily had quoted a staff as saying: “Doctors are hardly enough. But even if they are, there will be no equipment to work with. It is either the ones available have broken down after months of acquisition and usage with myriad of outstanding promises of fixing or changing them or that the machines are not available. That is the case at this clinic.”
The source said further: “ Am sure, you can always get paracetamol and other routine drugs. But anything outside that will take the patient to the outside the clinic where he will be advised to buy the drugs”.
A more trenchant insider, according to the paper, said: “ a thorough look at what constitutes a hospital for the Legislative Arm of the Federal government reveals a deliberate detachment of some offices at the basement on the left flank of the Complex, just before the Senate.
“Even though it is partitioned and made so compact to accommodate all the units of the clinic, it is still not enough let alone providing offices for the Heads of Unit. That is to tell you, what someone who is seriously sick will go through to get treated.
“For instance, the Office of the Head of Pharmaceutical Service is located in the Senate new Building, miles away from the “White House” where the clinic is itself located. Again, the clinic does not admit patients at the National Assembly. Admission is only done at Area 11, the extension of the clinic which operates in a rented 3 -bed room apartment. You can see for yourself that, it is not advisable for any one to go through all of that.
“Then the Laboratory Centre of the Clinic is situated miles away entirely from the whole Assembly Complex to another wing called “annex”. This means that whatever tests recommended by the Doctors, one simply needs to taxi to the place. But unfortunately, there are no taxis. We therefore, walk on foot, meandering through the buildings, doing a lot of stairs climbing or lifting becomes the only option available to get to the Lab Section. And then, one is told on arrival to the clinic that all the tests ticked for cannot not be done” the insider said.
There are more tales of woe, according to the report: “ There are no drugs available in the clinic not talk of having test done. The only one available is for Malaria Parasite (MP). If one is lucky, then Genotype and Blood Group follow.
“No kits, at least, for some time now. The kits have remained unavailable, and we can’t talk, because there are a lot of cover up with a lot of things going on in that clinic, but we can’t talk because of our job.
“In a situation where a patient becomes angry and in an attempt to pacify such patient, he or she will be advised to pay some money for the test to be conducted outside. it is not mandatory but strictly optional.
“This is because no one pays a dime in the clinic. At least, that is the situation for now. May be that could be the reason why some prescribed drugs are hardly available” She added.
“The worst of all, is that you can get drugs base on your personal relationship or your level in the office. Those staff that know one or two persons there , don’t face what others go through, because they personally bring drugs for them to avoid problems. This may also explain why serious screening are done before a staff can be attended to in the clinic.
“The annoying part is that the staff at the clinic, including cleaners are part of all kind of malpractices in that place, because they do not have choice. Any attempt to go against them, is to risk your job”
Top level official contacted by the newspaper simply tried to parry the questions put to them.One even asked that the story to be dropped.
It could be recalled that the State House Clinic came under scrutiny recently over allegations raised by Aisha Buhari, wife of Nigeria’s president.She said despite the budget, the State House Clinic lacked basic drugs and equipment.
Who will save Nigeria’s high profile clinics from growing lack of attention and rot?
(With reports by Peoples Daily)