Anti-corruption advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects, has asked the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, to account for the spending of budgetary allocations to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and other Federal Government-owned health institutions in the country in the last seven years.
The group, in a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, said its request was via the Freedom of Information Act.
It urged the minister to make the information available to it within seven days, as provided by the FOI Act, or be ready to face litigation.
SERAP said its request became necessary following its findings as published in a report titled, “Failing health care: How federal hospitals are letting down the poor and making health care a privilege rather than a right.”
In the report, publicly presented last week, SERAP claimed to have found in LUTH and two other Federal Government hospitals in Lagos “humanitarian crisis, manifestations of corruption, mismanagement and unhygienic conditions.”
READ ALSO: Cristiano Ronaldo scores first goal for Juventus
The report quoted a nurse, who had worked for four years in LUTH, as telling SERAP researchers that, “Some beds in different wards are too old to still be in use, but LUTH knows how to manage. Some of the available beds have become dilapidated. Some beds can cause accidents. They have beds from which patients can fall. It has really happened, and I’ve seen it happen. But they keep managing.”
Another official of the hospital was quoted to have said that, “Even bed sheets are in short supply. Patients use their wrapper for bed sheets sometimes. And when they use LUTH bed sheets, they are usually old and torn most of the time.
“Toilets in LUTH are centres of disease distribution. You can be sure to get urinary tract infections and the like. I am referring to the toilets in different wards.”
SERAP said it wants the Minister of Health to give account for the spending of capital allocations to the Ministry of Health between 2010 and 2017.
The group said it noted that yearly capital allocations to the health ministry were as follows: “N49.99bn for 2010; N33.53bn for 2011; N57.01bn for 2012; N60.08bn for 2013; N49.52bn for 2014; N22.68bn for 2015; N22.65bn for 2016; and N55.61bn for 2017.”
“According to our information and latest research, despite approved capital allocations of trillions of naira over the years to LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry of Health, these hospitals have been left to crumble and wither away and Nigerians have suffered greatly from the decay of these vital public services.
“Millions of Nigerian children are believed to die each year before the age of five, and most of those children lose their lives to diseases that are easily preventable or treatable at low cost. Nigeria is third highest in infant mortality rate in the world.”