The Federal Government is to commercialize the State House clinic, located in the Presidential Villa also known as Aso Rock. Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi made the disclosure while speaking to journalists.. The clinic was being commercialized due to the overwhelming demand on its services, which had made its subvention inadequate.
The Centre is the only health centre in Abuja where patients are not required to pay any dime before consultation.In other government hospitals in Abuja, patients are required to pay for consultation, treatment, laboratory tests and others but that has not been the case with the State House Medical Centre.The Centre offers free services, nobody pays a kobo for hospital card, consultations or prescriptions and this has taken a toll on the subvention the Centre receives from the government.
Arabi denied allegations that the clinic’s budget was being mismanaged. Recent media reports concerning the clinic revealed that patients had to purchase their own consumables.
There are other options
The reasons adduced to for commercializing the clinic do not hold weight. Rather than charge fees, the clinic can request for an increase in its subvention. The clinic received over N331 million as subvention in this year’s budget, but has not given an account of how much it has spent, or how much is remaining so far. There will be no way of knowing how prudent it will be with any funds that will be collected as fees.
In a country with poor healthcare, patients are most likely flocking to the clinic because of the quality of service received. The government can upgrade health facilities surrounding the villa, so as to reduce pressure on the clinic. Asking patients to give their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) details will not be of much help, as NHIS reimbursements to health facilities often take months to occur.