The University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) has confirmed that the federal government, via the Victims Support Fund (VSF), released N10 million for the treatment victims of Rann accidental bombing.
The hospital also said that it used over N9.122 million to purchase of drugs “and other essentials” for the treatment of these victims.
When TheCable initially visited UMTH in February, Abdulrahman Tahir, chief medical director of the hospital, said the federal government had not given any money to the hospital for the treatment of insurgency victims.
Sunday Ochoche, executive director of VSF, however told TheCable, that the agency had given N10 million to the hospital for the treatment of Rann victims.
Bashir Tahir, the chief representative of VSF at UMTH and chairman of the medical advisory committee (CMAC), later confirmed to TheCable that the hospital received the money.
Tahir said his team did not purchase drugs from the pharmacy in the hospital.
“We told the people; if there is anything that is not available in the hospital, they should let us know, we would buy it for them, and that is why we decided to forget about the hospital pharmacy and we bought almost all the necessary drugs,” he told TheCable.
“We have that in our custody as victims support, to avoid ‘out of stock’. But there is no pharmacy on earth that would have everything. We have over a million types of drugs, no pharmacy on earth will have everything.
“We are just a committee, we can decide to resign today, we don’t want anything that will drag federal government’s name into mud. We are not doing this for anything, nobody is paying us a kobo. It is not easy.”
Tahir gave a breakdown on how the funds were spent and presented documents showing that the hospitals bought “consumables” worth N8.264 million from Rahama Pharmaceuticals.
It also purchased “consumables” from Decosmilla Ventures, to the tune of N857,900 on February 6, 2017 — about two weeks after the accidental bombing.
“All of them use the best cast, the best cast you can find, even in the UK, that is what we are buying for them, we are not buying ordinary POP (plaster of paris)”.
SHETTIMA PROMISED UMTH N10 MILLION IN 2011 — NEVER PAID
In its Tears From Rann series, TheCable reported the neglect of many victims at the hospital.
Reacting to this, the committee admitted that there were some challenges being faced by the hospital, but balmed miscommunication for most of the problems affecting victims of insurgency.
He said some of the victims brought from Rann were registered under the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, and payments for their treatment were expected to come from the army.
Tahir said the hospital has had to cater to victims from its own purse, with little or no assistance from both the state and the federal government.
“The state government gave us N10 million when he (Shettima) came into office in 2011, and promised us another N10 million, but up till now, that promise has not been fulfilled. From 2009 till date, only N10 million,” he said.
“From 2009 to 2011, we were treating both civilians and security agents free. It was from 2011 that the military started paying us.”
Speaking on its contract with VSF, Tahir said: “We signed an MOU, they said (for) trauma, but now they are saying even IDPs. If they come and nobody to take care of them, we are doing that. But most of the IDPs are being handled by International Rescue, or Doctors Without Borders or Red Cross.
“For Red Cross, when they cannot manage them, they refer them here, we take care of them. Just two days ago, they called me that they brought a patient who swallowed a nail, and we admitted him and they didn’t have money. If they had not called me, I wouldn’t know.
“They brought in some of the victims they didn’t tell me, and I wouldn’t know. When the man called me, I was in A&E, they told me the patient was in ENT ward, I went and made sure I signed everything, they did surgery, I have been signing their drugs.
NO ONE WILL DIE HERE FOR LACK OF MONEY
He added that the VSF arm of the hospital needed timely information to deal with the situation at hand.
“We won’t allow anybody to die because of money, whether victim of insurgency or not. But we need to know. Let me give you an example, there were two patients from Gulumba, they were brought to A&E, I was in A&E, I asked, is there nay problem, they told me no,” he said.
“I then received a call from victims support, there are two patients in A&E, they are not being taken care of, I said it is not true, they said it is true. I said I’m just from A&E and they told me there is no problem, and one woman, a commissioner from Yobe reported the case, and she saw me when I came to A&E.
“I said you told me there is no problem, they said yes, and I said, what of this? They said they were brought by the military, they thought they were military patients.
“I had to intervene. They took care of them, one of them has been discharged, the other one is on admission, they are still treating her. We need information, without information, we can’t do anything.
“We need assistance, support from the state government. If they cannot manage their patients, they bring them to us, and we take over, we don’t allow any patient to suffer or die because of money.
“We are human beings, there may be some negligence on the side of our doctors or nurses, that is a different thing, but money, to say we won’t attend to patients because of money? No.”
WE HAVE ALL WE NEED FOR A WHILE
Tahir said immediately after the Rann bombing, the monies needed for the treatment was not readily available
“When they brought in the patients, we had not received money from Victims Support Fund, we could not buy things that were not available here. We got money on the 24th of January.
“You know we had to follow due process to buy this, we need to have evidence. It’s a contract. As of now, we have received over 90 percent of the items. The only thing left is IV drips, 300 cartons.
“But we have enough drip that will last one month, even if we have patients. During that period, if they had come to me with complaints that drugs are not available, if the money was much, I wouldn’t have done anything.
“With the money, we decided to buy what we need. We know our requirements, we bought enough anti-biotics. We have 2,000 bottles of Ceftriaxone, we have 1,000 bottles of Metronidazole, we have 1,000 bottles of Ciprofloxacin.
“We have oral drugs, we have analgesics, we have paracetamol tablets and injections, we have more than enough dressing materials.”
WHAT NEXT? MORE MONEY
“After this, we’ll tell Victims Support Fund what we used the money for, this is what we have done, because we don’t want a situation when victims will be brought and they would say no this, no that,” he said.
“They are willing to send some money; if they send some money, we are not going to buy items, we would keep the money for feeding, and in the event that some drugs are not available, when they prescribe, we would buy.
“It doesn’t have to be much money, we don’t like keeping money, that is why we bought things. It is true we would have some few hundreds left in the account, pending when they will send more money. We are not asking for much money.”