VISIT OF DIRECTOR OF HOSPITAL SERVICES (FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH, ABUJA) TO THE CENTRE ON FRIDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2008
The National Ear Care Centre is a specialist hospital for treating ear, nose and throat diseases in the country. By its mandate, it is expected to pioneer and coordinate research efforts in the field of ear, nose and throat as well as provide training for surgeons, nurses and other related professionals for the specialty.
Since inception, the centre has in spite of all odds, strived to, as much as possible, meet up to these challenges of fulfilling its mandate.
As a mark of acceptability of the centre’s services, patients come from all over the states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory for services.
Similarly, in fulfillment of its mandate on training, the centre has trained 262 Post-Basic ENT Nurses between 1999 to date in her school of Post Basic ENT Nursing; the only one in the country. Of recent, there have been enquiries from neighbouring countries for the sponsorship of foreign students for the course.
Also, in recognition of the high prevalence of deafness and hearing impairment in the country, the centre introduced a 4-week primary Ear Care Course for community health officers and nurses. This is intended to ensure early detection, treatment and referral of patients. To date, 500 rural health workers have been trained.
While demand for services of the centre has continued to increase, ability to expand services has been constrained by lack of sufficient manpower. However, recruitment of critical manpower was conducted in April 2008 but no cash backing yet. As such, the appointees are yet to assume duty.
Funding has been a major constraint of the centre. Unlike many other institutions, the centre, from inception to date, has neither benefited from take-off grant nor special funding.
From 2004 – date, capital funding has been as follows:
|No.||Year||Capital Allocation||Level of Implementation|
|3||2006||39,700,000.00||100 percent released though 50% is yet to be assessed due to delays in release of certificate of award/payment by Due Process Office.|
|4.||2007||100,000,000.00||Due process on going
These funds were used mostly to purchase medical and office equipments. Though there appears to have been progressive upward increases in capital allocation in the past three (3) years, these amounts are grossly inadequate to equip a specialist centre of this mandate.
- 2009 Capital Allocation
We have observed that only the sum of 68 million naira has been allocated to the Centre for the 2009 capital projects. For a centre with the background stated at 2 above, and which is in need of funds to hasten infrastructural development necessary for specialized ENT services, research and training, this amount is grossly inadequate.
Some of the earmarked projects such as construction of students’ lecture auditorium and hostels were completely removed from the budgetary provisions of the centre yet they are priority projects in view of the fact that the centre is the only institution that provides post basic ENT nursing training in the country.
- Renovations/Construction of Permanent site
Recently, the old psychiatric hospital of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital was allocated to the centre to serve as her permanent site. The structures are quite old and in great state of disrepair. A lot of funds would be required to renovate and upgrade them to the required standard of a specialist centre. I therefore wish to use this opportunity to solicit for your kind consideration of a special capital grant in the 2007 appropriation for this purpose.
For the centre to live up to expectation in clinical services, research and training, there is need for adequate staffing, both in terms of number and skills for critical areas of need. In view of the difficulties that are being experienced in this as earlier highlighted, it would be appreciated if you could use your esteemed positions to fast-track the process of obtaining approval from the relevant authority.
- Enabling Act
While not being unmindful of the efforts being made by the distinguished Senate on the matter of enabling act for the centre, I wish to reiterate our sincere desire to have the enabling act enacted into law within the shortest time possible. It is only by this that the centre can confidently strive for the attainment of its mandate. We pray that this would be achieved within the life span of this present Senate.
- No Take- off Grant
It is of paramount importance to mention that the centre has never had take off grant in any way.
- Non inclusion of the Centre in some Government initiatives
The Centre was neither a beneficiary of Vamed Projects nor included in the MDG’s programme as well as special funding for Specialist hospitals. The Centre is a Specialist centre which need not be over emphasized. However, the followings require urgent funding to enable the Centre put them in place:
- Construction of access road/drainages – N36,000,000
- Completion of the administrative block – N95,000,000
- Renovation of Laboratory, Audiology/speech clinic – N12,500,000
- Landscaping of the centre – N5,171,000
- Construction of lecture auditorium/classes – N78,715,000
- Procurement of utility vehicles including ambulance – N17,000,000
- Construction of 60 rooms students hostel, 3 lecture halls and 1 auditorium – N147,750,000
- The Centre’s overhead is grossly inadequate. To reduce this operational constraint, there is need for additional funding in our overhead so as to run the centre effectively.
- The staff of the centre through the Union are pressing had for payment of monetization arrears.
- The centre as mentioned above is involved in training. The Post Basic Nursing programme lacks funding.
In consideration of the relevance of the centre in Nigeria, the Centre remains determined to contribute towards establishing this centre on sound footing so as to actualize the responsibilities vested on her. We hope that your good office will, as a matter of significance, address these prayers positively. As a starting point, it will be appreciated if the 2009 capital allocation the centre is looked into with a view to allocating more funds to meet the challenges of rapid development of the centre.
Prof. Babagana M. Ahmad