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Senate summons health minister over poor state of teaching hospitals



The Senate on Wednesday resolved to summon the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole over the poor quality of teaching hospitals across the country.

The invitation was sequel to a motion moved by Senator David Umaru (APC, Niger) on the “alarming report on poor quality of services in Nigerian Teaching Hospitals.”

Umaru while speaking on his motion lamented that a media report had revealed widespread cases of poor electricity supply, obsolete medical equipment, and decayed infrastructure in teaching hospitals across the country.

He said: “Most teaching hospitals in Nigeria have been overstretched forcing patients to sleep on bare floors, plastic mats and other unhygienic conditions that put them at the risk of contracting other ailment.

“Also, patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer and kidney failure are now compelled to travel long distances to access chemotherapy and dialysis at very high cost due to the absence of the requisite medical equipment for such services within their vicinity.”

Other lawmakers who contributed to the debate blamed corruption and mismanagement of resources in the health sector in addition to poor welfare of health workers.

In his remarks, Senate President, Bukola Saraki expressed worry that teaching hospitals have remained in abysmal shape despite huge budgetary allocations annually.

According to Saraki, “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.”

The Senate in its other resolutions directed its Committee on Health to “conduct an emergency investigative hearing on the state of health care services” in teaching hospitals and report back in one week.

Furthermore, the Senate called on the Federal Government to subsidise the medical expenses of patients with terminal ailments and “immediately adopt short and long-term measures that will holistically address the challenges confronting teaching hospitals and retool them for excellent tertiary health care services in the country.”