State House Clinic Imbroglio – Why we should also be talking about other Nigerian public hospitals.
The State House clinic has revealed plans to start requesting for payment for services provided to clients. This decision follows public outrage in October 2017 over statements by the First lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, that the State Medical house is in poor condition and that they lack essential medications and medical supplies such as syringes and gloves.
The news was received by Nigerians as yet another evidence of corruption and mismanagement of public funds in Nigeria due to the amount of money said to be allocated yearly to the clinic.
The press release from the state house has however contended that the clinic’s poor condition is due to inadequate funding as the amount of money they have received at the clinic in the past 3 years is far less than the figures widely quoted in the news and that they do not charge clients for services provided and consultations, tests like MRI scans and treatments are free to an elite range of clientele including political appointees, the military, para-military, other security agencies, members of the National Assembly, and the public. It is therefore expected that the commercialization plan will improve revenue sources for the maintenance of the facility.
It must be noted also, as different commentaries have highlighted, that the condition of the State House Clinic reflects the state of things in the Nigerian public health system, where allocations are inadequate and far too few, and pharmacies run out of syringes and essential medications.
What many experts are concerned about is that if the furor about the State House Clinic dies out without sparking similar conversations about other public hospitals, the country may have missed a window of opportunity to call attention to the true state of things and devise a means for improved management of our public hospitals.