Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Electricity Bills: NASS to increase budgetary allocation of teaching hospitals

Mr Magaji said some hospitals were threatening to close down over what he described as exorbitant electricity bills.

• June 28, 2024
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The House of Representatives said it would increase budgetary allocations of tertiary health facilities towards addressing high electricity bills and strengthening quality healthcare delivery services across Nigeria.

Amos Magaji, chairman of the House Committee on Health, stated this on Friday in Zaria during an oversight visit to Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Zaria.

He said that beyond increasing the overhead of these facilities, the committee would discuss how to address the challenge with the Federal Ministry of Power and other key stakeholders in the sector.

Mr Magaji said some hospitals were threatening to close down over what he described as exorbitant electricity bills.

“While we are here, the chief medical director of ABUTH received an SMS from Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company about the bills. ABUTH used to have N10 million in electricity bills monthly, but from N10 million, the bill has increased to over N70 million per month, and the situation is similar in most of the hospitals across the country.

“If the overhead for 2024 was N100 million or N120 million, you are spending such an amount on electricity alone in two months, it will then be very difficult for you to cope,’’ he said.

Mr Magaji said the National Assembly and management of tertiary health facilities would also use renewable energy to reduce the burden on electricity and diesel for generators.

The chairman expressed concern over the hospital’s low personnel count, adding that ABUTH was a prestigious tertiary health facility with a 1,000-bed capacity.

He said that the number of workers to man the facility was far less than the staff in the hospitals with fewer beds.

Therefore, the chairman urged Nigerians to take advantage of the facility’s equipment and qualified medical personnel to reverse medical tourism.

Mr Magaji tasked the medical personnel with improving their attitude towards patients and charged the institution with reclaiming its reputation for providing quality and affordable health care services.

This, according to him, can be achieved through strict adherence to ethics and improved commitment to the system.

Mr Magaji commended the hospital unions for staying to serve their country while many medical personnel were moving out.

Hamid Umdagas, the hospital’s chief medical director, told the committee that manpower and electricity were the hospital’s major challenges. He said that the 1,000-bed capacity hospital, which has six satellite stations and 40 clinical and non-clinical departments, was grappling with 2 805 staff strength as of Thursday.

According to him, the `japa syndrome’ hit hard on the facility’s human resources for health. Some of the staff disappeared, while a few retired.

He said cumulative monthly generation from both HSRF and Drug Revolving Fund stands at N64,271,387.68 million.

“In May, the hospital received an electricity bill of N75 million while in ABUTH Shika alone, we paid between N18 million and N20 million for diesel to power generators. This has superseded our monthly IGR, including our overhead cost, and led to a sharp decrease in health outcomes at the facility,’’ he said.

(NAN)

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