The Federal Government on Wednesday announced a decision to commercialise the State House Medical Centre, Abuja, which offers free medical services to patients.
The announcement was made by the Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr Jalal Arabi in a statement he released through the deputy director (information), State House, Mr. Attah Esa.
He explained that the management of the medical centre would commercialise it in order to address its dwindling fortune.
The Permanent Secretary was reacting to a recent media report on the state of the clinic.
A report by Daily Trust newspapers on Tuesday had claimed that patients at the clinic were groaning over lack of drugs.
The report further claimed that the last time drugs were supplied in the clinic was in April this year.
But in his response Arabi said, that the commercialisation of the centre would help it provide qualitative and efficient services as it will grow its revenue and augment the budget it receives from the government.
“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.
According to Arabi, the intended reforms would ensure that those eligible to use the Centre are NHIS complaint with their Health Maintenance Organisations or primary health provider domiciled in the clinic.
Currently, the medical centres offers largely free medical services to patients at Aso Rock, the seat of government of Nigeria.