BORNO state Governor, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, was on Thursday, not only a surprise visitor to the newly established Gwande Primary Healthcare centre, Gwande II ward, Maiduguri, the state capital, he also came in disguised and unannounced.
As would be expected, he caught some of the health officials collecting between N8,000 to N10,000 from patients for services are supposed to be provided free.
Prof Zulum, who left his official convoy, had the state health commissioner, Mrs Juliana Bitrus, join him in a 10-seater bus, usually deployed for airport services, without letting her into their destination. He then headed to the healthcare centre when he found health officials collecting the said amount from patients before diagnosing and treating them of common ailments, including Malaria.
“The staff we met here confirmed that they use to collect between N8,000 to N10,000 from patients to treat malaria. In fact, they have turned this Government health centre to a private hospital and this is why the centre has been deserted by people who mostly do not have the money to access services here. The workers just collect money and put it in their pockets,” a visibly angry Zulum said.
Zulum who was really sad over the fact that only one of 29 health workers employed for the health centre was on ground to attend to patients, directed the state Primary Healthcare Agency to investigate, identify all culprits involved and take appropriate disciplinary actions.
“You can imagine that at 2:00pm, this primary healthcare centre we built and fully equipped is empty because of extortion and without medical staff. This level of impunity cannot be tolerated. The earlier we address it, the better for all of us,” he assured.
The governor moved from Gwande II Healthcare to the one at Gwande I where he however, met different scenario. Apart from finding health workers on ground, they were also attending to patients without extorting them. He was full of commendations for their exemplary conduct.
The Zulum administration has constructed over 75 primary healthcare centers, built and renovated dozens of general hospitals and employed close to 600 medical workers of different categories, and is also building houses for doctors and nurses to inspire good medical services to citizens.