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How Corruption Affects Healthcare At The National Hospital Abuja




Mukhtar Sani’s brother, Yunusa, had descended the ladder after a plumbing repair, when he regarded up and observed that the job was not good. So, he climbed the ladder once more. This was when he slipped and fell, the impression inflicting harm round his neck and again.

What occurred to him afterwards might by no means have been imagined in a authorities owned hospital, and it led to his loss of life.

He was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, the place he was attended to and was quickly referred to the Nationwide Hospital Abuja (NHA) because of the difficult nature of the surgical procedure he required.

The Interim Bill issued to Sani, and obtained by HumAngle, confirmed his brother’s treatment historical past. The price of his therapy, which included an x-ray, amounted to N175,780.

The bill additionally indicated that his brother had been within the hospital for 4 days, from Feb. 6, 2020, by 10:06 p.m. till his loss of life on Feb. 9, 2020. He was registered as affected person 660461 and stayed each within the previous ward of the Nationwide Hospital and the brand new ward. 

They’d a problem with elevating N500,000 throughout the shortest attainable time for the surgical procedure he required.

Happily, Yunusa’s boss was in a position to present the cash. Sani then approached one of many docs with the intention to pay for the surgical procedure. To his shock, he was given the account particulars of one of many docs.

“I refused and requested for proof that I used to be sending to the hospital account,” Sani defined. “I mentioned I wasn’t going to ship it to an organisation I didn’t know.”

Earlier funds made, in line with the Interim Bill HumAngle consulted, revealed that for each service/drug prescription given to the affected person, a piece within the doc listed the names of those that billed the affected person, together with two receipt particulars for a complete variety of 27 completely different companies and medicines supplied.

So, when it got here to fee for surgical procedure, Sani didn’t ship the cash to the non-public account given to him. His refusal to do as others did value his brother, Yunusa, his life. He died whereas awaiting surgical procedure, leaving a spouse and three kids.

However they discovered a handy excuse for his loss of life.

“They instructed us that they knew he wouldn’t survive, that was why they didn’t do the surgical procedure,” Sani mentioned.

“I’m nonetheless combating to get his loss of life certificates as a result of we now have gotten some type of sponsorship for his kids’s training.”

“I wrote an utility to the medical director, however I nonetheless haven’t been given. The truth is, they had been unable to search out his file in the complete hospital, so it’s even unattainable to pay money for the report that can make it attainable for me to get the loss of life certificates. I took the file quantity and paperwork of all the things we did, however they’re unable to search out it.”

This is only one in a number of instances of alleged corruption on the NHA.

Give a bribe or maintain ready

The process for reserving appointments on the NHA stipulates that: “All bookings are accomplished within the varied clinics of the hospital by Well being Document Officers on obligation. Sufferers are anticipated to provide their hand card to the Document Officer in cost in order that he/she is going to point out the day, time and the Physician to see within the subsequent appointment.”

However this process is just on paper. Some middleman workers on the hospital have devised their very own guidelines. Such was the case with Mr and Mrs Yakubu who had been sufferers on the hospital just lately.

The couple, like Mukhtar Sani’s case, had been additionally referred to NHA in 2020 when their six-year-old son had tonsillitis.

“We got a letter from Nisa Premier Hospital to provide to the Nationwide Hospital as a result of that they had the required gear for our son’s surgical procedure,” Lucy Yakubu mentioned.

At NHA’s pediatric part, a Document Officer (RA) collected their file and shelved it. The husband and spouse then waited for over 4 hours, hoping they might be known as in to see the physician.

When the RA returned, the couple requested why they had been left ready for thus lengthy. However there was no apology as a result of, in line with the RA, “he had a variety of different issues to take care of.”

Mr Yakubu then reminded the official that their state of affairs was an emergency as a result of their son had not eaten correctly for 3 days and was in ache. However that was nonetheless not sufficient to sway the person.      

“At that second some individuals walked in and he shortly attended to them,” Mr Yakubu claimed, including that the affected person appeared to have bribed the RA.

Mr Yakubu’s suspicion was confirmed when he and his spouse approached a nurse and he or she instructed them that workers on the hospital choose to take care of those that give them cash. “‘If you happen to don’t, they gained’t, the nurse instructed us,” he recalled.

Mr Yakubu and his spouse returned to Nisa Premier Hospital and relayed the incident to a nurse. She prescribed antibiotics to their son and suggested them to take an area method.

“We diluted salt in water and added alum,” Mr Yakubu narrated. “That was what helped our son.”

His spouse added that when she gave beginning at NHA, nurses preferred to be given cash earlier than they might name a health care provider “to take care of us.”

Cash paid into non-public accounts

A HumAngle reporter visited the Ophthalmology Division of NHA for an eye fixed take a look at with the assistance of one other workers member.

When she went in, the physician was attending to sufferers so she needed to wait. When she was lastly known as in, he requested a couple of questions earlier than the checks started.

There have been two college students current and the physician performed the take a look at utilizing a machine whereas concurrently educating the scholars.

Once they had been accomplished, he took down her particulars after which negotiated a worth with the hospital worker that introduced her. He wrote down the prescription on a bit of paper and handed it to the HumAngle reporter.

This reporter was later issued medicated glasses after fee of over N30,000 was made into the non-public account of the physician (identify withheld).   

“There are numerous acts of corruption to uncover on this hospital,” a workers member who pleaded anonymity instructed HumAngle. “In some locations, you pay straight into the physician’s non-public account.” 

The supply additionally defined that sufferers are required or anticipated to pay bribes when consulting docs who’ve assistants. These assistants guarantee sufferers give them some cash earlier than they’ve entry to a health care provider.

“Additionally, a specific feminine physician on the hospital who has her personal observe has the behavior of referring sufferers to Nationwide Hospital. However as a substitute of the sufferers paying to Nationwide Hospital for the usage of its services, they nonetheless pay to her as a result of she ensures that she personally attends to them,” the supply revealed.

There are reported instances the place docs collude with hospitals to rip-off Nigerians by means of a referral kickback scheme, however the former case is completely different.

When HumAngle reached out to Segun Adetola, Public Relations Officer on the Ministry of Well being, he mentioned he was not the best particular person to talk to concerning authorities hospitals within the capital. He directed HumAngle to the Ministry’s Director of Hospital Companies, Dr Adebiyi Adebimpe.

However Dr Adepimbe requested HumAngle to jot down to the Minister of Well being himself.

In the meantime, the administration of the NHA appeared to have obtained reviews of corrupt practices amongst workers members. Tayo Haastrup, the power’s Public Relations Officer, mentioned NHA now has an e-payment system “which has actually blocked these sorts of loopholes.”

Haastrup, who despatched his response in textual content messages, added that the NHA has been working the e-payment system for about three years.

A supply on the hospital agreed that, certainly, the e-payment system has helped to cut back corruption throughout the hospital, however added that workers members nonetheless discover methods to have interaction in fraudulent practices.


This story was produced in partnership with Civic Media Lab below its Grassroots Information Undertaking.

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