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Breaking: Aso Rock clinic to be commercialised

The State House Medical Centre (SHMC), which currently offers free medical services to patients, would be re-positioned to offer qualitative and efficient services, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr Jalal Arabi, has said.

Reacting to a recent media report on the state of the medical centre, the Permanent Secretary said the management will among other things seek the commercialisation of the centre to boost its revenue and augment the appropriation it receives from the government in the quest for a better qualitative service.

‘‘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.

‘‘We have some of the best equipment in the country. For instance, to maintain the MRI and other scan machines, we spend close to N2 million monthly. Yet we do not charge a dime for those who require MRI scans in the clinic,’’ he said.

Arabi said the proposed reforms would ensure that those eligible to use the Centre are NHIS complaint with their Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) or primary health provider domiciled in the clinic.

‘‘We have already created a NHIS desk at the clinic where patients will be required to authentic their profile. If their HMOs are registered in other hospitals they will be required to transfer to the Centre.

‘‘This is another way through which we can boost revenue generation at the hospital and this has started yielding results because the stark reality is there is no free lunch anywhere,’’ he said.

The Permanent Secretary also dismissed allegations of misappropriation and withholding of funds meant for medical supplies in the centre.

‘‘I know people will insinuate and give all sorts of reasons because they don’t ask but it will be foolhardy and madness for anybody in his senses to defraud a medical centre of a kobo and toying with people’s lives.

‘‘No sane person will do that, so the truth of the matter is the hospital is being run on  subvention and appropriation; if it comes we pile the drugs; but the truth is the drugs are always overwhelmed by the number of people who use the centre, because it is not controlled,’’ he said

About Abdullahi M. Gulloma, Abuja

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