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[EXCLUSIVE] Covid-19: Over N22.58 billion shared among 21 teaching hospitals

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FINDINGS by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR) have revealed that at least 21 Federal Teaching Hospitals under the Federal Ministry of Health got about N22.58 billion at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is coming following doubts and questions surrounding the actual sum offered to the federal teaching institutions to alleviate the impacts of the global outbreak on the Nigerian citizens.

Some argued that N950 million was the amount disbursed to each teaching hospital. Others claimed N650 million. Details of the exact sum released to each benefitting health institution have not been in the public space, including the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) portal.


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The health ministry did not respond to FOI written to it to seek the correct information on the payments.

The secrecy behind the actual disbursement has, thus, been an issue of public discussion until this unveiling.

The ICIR FOI earlier written to the Office of Accountant General of The Federation.

The monetary provision was an intervention to make available Molecular Laboratory Equipment, equipping 10-bedded Intensive Care Units (ICUs), equipping the Isolation Treatment Centres, and the cost to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in the 21 benefitting hospitals.

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Also, part of the lump sum was meant to install oxygen plants and repair the oxygen plants and additional expenses for the ICU.

But a document with the reference number FD/OAGF/DDE/184/T/I/DF sourced through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation pegged the total releases from the COVID-19 funds at N22,584,881,798.03.

The director of funds at the OAGF, Sabo Mohammed, signed the document on July 1, on behalf of the accountant general of the federation.

He listed the beneficiaries: University College Hospital, Ibadan, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital and the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

Others are Jos University Teaching Hospital, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital and Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

FOI response to The ICIR from the Office of Accountant General of The Federation.

The last category in the group is the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching, Bauchi, Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe, Federal Teaching Hospital Ido Ekiti, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua and University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo.

These implied beyond regular budgetary allocations, the hospitals were supported through financial interventions during the COVID-19 outbreak to discharge their duties.

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Breakdown of N22.58 billion

All the teaching hospitals listed above received an equal sum of N1, 078, 374, 400. 72 each. As earlier mentioned, the money was to procure equipment, PPEs and the likes. This excludes the university of port Harcourt teaching hospital, which got a much lesser sum of N949, 233, 268.72.

A simple breakdown of the N1.07 billion and N949.23 million highlighted above and disbursed equally to the 21 teaching hospitals respectively revealed that N348.84 million was allocated to procure molecular laboratory equipment across each teaching hospital while N224.49 million was released for 10-bedded ICUs in the 21 hospitals, N100 million to equip each isolation centre, and N149.75 to procure PPE across the benefitting hospitals; N129.14 million was also released to each of the 21 hospitals to install oxygen plants and another N129.14 million for the ICU.

According to the document, only the university of port Harcourt teaching hospital did not receive the second ICU payment of N129.14 million.

Nevertheless, independent findings by The ICIR showed that while a significant number of the projects were executed, the workforce to handle the equipment and utilise the other interventions have remained a considerable challenge due to the brain drain in the health sector.

These were established in different federal hospitals across the country during field visits by The ICIR.

An example of a COVID-19 Isolation Ward constructed by Well House Resources Limited at the FMC Abeokuta Ogun State but abandoned with several types of medical laboratory equipment. Photo Credit: Olugbenga Adanikin, The ICIR.

Other releases to teaching hospitals beyond CACOVID       

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During COVID-19, the Federal Government was forced to review its 2020 budget due to the pandemic, which led to a sharp drop in crude oil prices. And it eventually affected its revenue generation.

It cut down irrelevant expenses but advised the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to embark on essential procurements solely. As a way of managing the slim resources, it also implied any project outside of health delivery to reduce COVID-19 impacts should not be awarded.

The public, through the CACOVID, as a result, volunteered to support government efforts against the pandemic. These were made via donations from corporate organisations and private individuals. From a target of N120 billion, the private-sector-led initiative raised about N30 billion.

Nevertheless, beyond CACOVID interventions, the office of the accountant-general also approved budgetary releases to 19 federal teaching hospitals in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The teaching hospitals include: University College Hospital, Ibadan, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital and the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

Others are Jos University Teaching Hospital, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital and Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

Also in the last category are the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching, Bauchi, Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe, Federal Teaching Hospital Ido Ekiti.

All the releases were cash-backed.

For instance, in 2020, N25.17 billion was released from the approved capital budget to the 19 benefitted teaching hospitals listed above.

They got N20.20 billion in the 2021 capital releases, while the amount released to the 19 teaching hospitals in 2022 was N8.48 billion.

These financial details are, however, just for the teaching hospitals in the country. Beyond the federal government health facilities category, there are federal medical centres, federal neuropsychiatric hospitals, and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, among others. Still, a few have full details of their financial expenditures hidden from the public.

Author profile

Olugbenga heads the Investigations Desk at The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at oadanikin@icirnigeria.org. Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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