On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, again, proceeded to London, the United Kingdom, for a routine medical check-up.
The latest marks the seventh time President Buhari has embarked on a medical trip since he assumed office in May 2015, raising questions about his disdain for the state house clinic that has gulped over N11.21 billion in the last seven years.
Ripples Nigeria checks on the budget documents since 2015 show the State House Medical Centre (SHMC), established to provide health care services to the president, vice president, their families, as well as members of staff of the Presidential Villa, every year received appropriate allocations.
Even when the former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, tested positive for COVID-19, he was moved to a private hospital in Lagos.
In fact, the N11.21 billion computed could even be higher if other medical expenses scattered on the state house budget are taken into consideration.
Breakdown of the budgetary allocation specifically for the statehouse medical centre shows that for this year N641.1million will be spent out of which N208.350 million is budgeted for drugs and medical care.
The 2021 budget is an increase from N598.6 million allocated in 2020.
In 2019, N798.8 million was also allocated to the statehouse clinic, lower than the N1.03 billion budgeted in 2018.
Only in 2017 was the statehouse clinic less than N500 million when it got N331.70 million.
In 2015 and 2016, the medical center got N3.87 billion and N3.94 billion as budgetary allocation respectively.
For many Nigerians who reacted to the president’s medical trip on social media, the latest was more like a disrespect to the medical doctors who are currently on strike in the country.
According to federal government statistics, as at 2018, the number of registered medical doctors in Nigeria was 74,543 while registered nurses totaled 180, 709. Many wonder why the president has no trust in any.
Also, Ripples Nigeria checks on the website of UK’s General Medical Council showed no fewer than 7,800 Nigerian doctors are currently practising in the United Kingdom. The number as at 2016 was less than 3000.
These numbers, therefore, beg the question. Are Nigerian doctors incapable of caring for the president or the president feels more comfortable treated aboard?
By David Ibemere…
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