President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that the State House Medical Centre (SHMC) be reverted to a Clinic in a bid to serve the original purpose of its establishment. Mr Jalal Arabi, Permanent Secretary, State House, made the assertion when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs for the 2019 budget defense.
“Without prejudice to what is currently obtainable at SHMC, the intention to revert to a clinic is a Presidential directive. This is to make sure that the facility is functional and serves the purpose for which it was established, ab initio,” he was quoted in a statement by the Deputy Director (Information), Mr. Attah Esa.
Arabi explained that the reversion of the Centre to a Clinic was a case of ‘‘cutting one’s coat according to your cloth.’’
‘‘It was initially meant to serve the first and second families and those working within and around the Villa.
‘‘The overstretching of facilities at the Medical Centre by patients is some of the challenges the Centre have been going through. It wasn’t meant for that purpose.
‘‘Nobody was charging anyone for any services and relying on appropriation means we will depend on subvention when it comes to run the Centre.
‘‘Whatever comes is what you utilize and if the last patient comes in to take the last drugs based on the last budgetary release, that is it and we have to wait till another release is done.
‘‘But this new development means that services will be streamlined to a clinic that will serve those that it was meant to serve when it was conceived,’’ the Permanent Secretary said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Danjuma La’ah (PDP-Kaduna South) welcomed the proposal to make the SHMC fully functional and ensure that members of the first and second families use the facilities at the clinic.
Senator La’ah assured that the committee will support full funding for the Clinic and commended the 2018 budget performance in State House, compared to previous years, despite revenue challenges.