Aisha Buhari Criticizes Aso Rock Clinic Boss Over Poor Facilities
The wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, like her daughter a week ago, has lamented the poor state of the Aso Rock Clinic and berated the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the clinic, Dr. Hussain Munir, for running an ill-equipped health care facility.
Mrs. Buhari expressed displeasure over the terrible state of the clinic for which huge sums of money are budgeted every year and demanded accountability on the clinic’s funds by its management.
She made her views known Monday at the opening of a stakeholders’ meeting on reproductive, maternal, newborn child, adolescent health and nutrition, otherwise known as RMNCAH+N, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The event was organised by her platform, Future Assured, to build formidable alliances with the relevant institutions with a view to strengthening advocacy for RMNCAH+N at the state level.
By her reaction to the state of Aso Rock Clinic, Mrs. Buhari was echoing her daughter, Zahra, who had upbraided the State House Permanent Secretary, Mr. Jalal Arabi, on social media, asking him to account for more than N3 billion budgeted for the clinic.
Mrs. Buhari, whose anger was an offshoot of the inability of the hospital to treat her recently when she took ill, said she declined advice to travel out of the country for treatment but chose to seek medical attention in a foreign-owned hospital in Abuja.
In the presence of several governors’ wives who graced the occasion, Mrs. Buhari dealt a heavy blow to the personality of the CMD of the State House Medical Centre, Munir, by putting him on the spot before the audience and demanded accountability on the clinic’s budget.
She did not hesitate to call him out in the presence of the audience and demanded an account of the clinic’s budget, describing the ongoing construction of new buildings at the hospital’s premises in the face of non-availability of even the least of medical items and drugs as a misplaced priority.
She also bemoaned the fate of ordinary citizens on the streets of Nigeria, noting that if high profile personalities like her husband had to spend several months abroad for medical treatment, the plight of the masses could not be estimated.
“Before I commence my speech I will like to be realistic and say a few words concerning health care and the health delivery system in Nigeria. The Nigeria health sector is in a very, very, very poor, sorry state to say the least.
“I am happy the CMD of Aso Clinic is here. Is he around? Dr. Munir (Dr. Hussain Munir, consultant cardiologist and the chief medical director at state house medical centre) or his representative? Okay, he is around.
“Dr. Munir I’m happy you are here. As you are all aware, for the last six months Nigeria wasn’t stable because of my husband’s ill health. We thank God he is fully recovered now.
“If somebody like Mr. President could spend several months outside Nigeria, then you should wonder what would happen to the common man on the street of Nigeria.
“Few weeks ago, I was sick as well. They advised me to take the first flight out to London but I refused to go. I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us. If the budget is N100 million, we need to know how the budget is spent.
“Along the line, I insisted they called Aso Clinic to find out if the X-ray machine was working. They said it was not working. They did not know that I was the one that was supposed to be in that hospital at that very time.
“I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 per cent. What does that mean? So I think it’s high time for us to do the right thing. If something like this can happen to me, no need for me to ask the governors’ wives what is happening in their states. This is Abuja and this is the highest seat of government and this is the Presidential Villa.
“One of the speakers has already said we have very good policies in Nigeria. In fact, we have the best policies in Africa. Yes, of course, we have but the implementation has been the problem. So we need to change our mindset and do the right thing. I’m sure Dr. Munir will not like me saying this but I have to say it.
“As the chief medical director, there is a lot of construction going on in this hospital but there is no single syringe there. What does that mean? Who will use the building? We have to be good in reasoning.
“You are building new buildings and there is no equipment, no consumables in the hospital and the construction is still going on,” she said.
Further lamenting the adverse effects of the abysmal health sector in Nigeria, Mrs. Buhari said it was her husband’s absence from the country for several months due to ill health that emboldened the leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to intensify his separatist agenda.
“Going back to the same health issue in Nigeria, as a result of my husband spending several months outside Nigeria, a 40-year-old man who was still living in his father’s house created a state out within a state and that was a major setback for the country and the health care sector did not benefit,” she said.