• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

National Hospital’s mandate expanded to include catering for president— CMD

A Revolutionary Pill for Nigeria’s Ailing Healthcare System

Muhammad Raji, the chief medical director of the National Hospital, Abuja (NHA), says the facility’s initial mandate of catering for women and children’s medical needs has been expanded to include catering for the nation’s president.

Raji disclosed on Sunday in Abuja that the hospital now caters to all the citizens of Nigeria irrespective of race, age, or gender.

“The facility is now the apex hospital in the country; it caters to the welfare needs of even the first citizen in the country.

“So, we are poised to attend to such needs and we have been doing that for quite some years.”

He, however, said that there had been changes that adversely affected the mandate given to the hospital.

According to Raji, two of the major challenges are funding and supervision.

“As a result of these challenges, there has been some reduction in the ability of NHA to meet that exact mandate.

“Some of the equipment that were there before, that were world-class equipment, have, over the years, not been changed.

“Some have gone bad and no more working. Some do work, but then I would say they are limping. So, as a result, it is not able to now efficiently give that primary mandate that it has been mandated to give. But this is what we are working on.

“The current leadership of the Ministry of Health is on top of their game, trying to set things back on track for NHA and other hospitals.

“In extension, the management of NHA is also working assiduously towards that to see that our previous mandate is achieved.”

With regards to the funding needs of the hospital, he said that the hospital, being a part of society, also feels and is subjected to what other government institutions face.

According to him, lack of funding is something that has affected the whole facets of the Nigerian economy and the government over the years.

“I wouldn’t blame any particular administration because the economic hardship is something that all administrations have been working hard towards resolving, but the dwindling economy has affected NHA adversely.

“Previously, when NHA was first created, it happened to be under the presidency and bureaucracy was less, sources of funding and the volume of funding was much more, but as time went on, NHA was moved under some other segments of government.

“However, even those, like the ministry, are also not finding it funny in terms of funding.

“So, for them to even be able to fund hospitals through budgetary means or interventions, though they have tried as much as they can, they may not be able to go around all the tertiary hospitals in the country.

“We are talking about more than 70 tertiary institutions that are handled by the Federal Ministry of Health.

“So, however hard they try, which they are trying actually, they may not go through each hospital as much as that hospital needs; that’s how it has affected us.”

The CMD, however, said that to ameliorate the situation, some interventions had come through some organisations either through philanthropic gestures or public-private partnerships (PPP).