A rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, with a demand that he should “urgently provide information about details of actual spending of allocations to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH) Idi Araba and 20 other federal teaching hospitals.

The group also wants spending information for 20 Federal Medical Centres across Nigeria, for the period covering 2010 to 2017.

The organisation said: “The information should include details of spending on specific projects and facilities at LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry of Health.

"We would be grateful if the information is provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP shall take appropriate legal action to compel you to comply with our request.”

In the letter dated 14 September, 2018, and signed by SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation said: “Despite huge budgetary allocations, many of the teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of your Ministry have been left to fall apart and health care facilities in many of these hospitals lack even the most basic of amenities.

"Ordinary Nigerians have derived appallingly little benefit from all of the allocations, in terms of access to basic healthcare, showing a failure to respect and ensure the right to health and human dignity in the country".

Isaac Adewole
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole

According to the organisation there is need for a"'paradigm shift’ and little short of a ‘healthcare revolution’ in the country to end decades of mismanagement, corruption and neglect in the health sector and to improve access of millions of Nigerians to adequate healthcare and treatment.

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"The status quo is simply unacceptable. Ensuring transparency in the spending of allocations to LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres would contribute hugely to charting a way forward in this regard.”

The FOI request read in part: “As trustee of public funds, your Ministry has a legal duty to render account on the specific details of spending of capital allocations to LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry to the beneficiaries (Nigerians) of the trust, if and when called upon to do so.

"Any failure or refusal to render account will also be clearly inconsistent with the attitude of a government that has repeatedly expressed commitment to the fight against corruption, and to transparency and accountability".

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The request came after SERAP published a research report that revealed “humanitarian crisis, manifestations of corruption and mismanagement at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH) Idi Araba and how unhygienic conditions, severe shortages of medicines and medical supplies in the hospital and two other Federal Government owned hospitals in Lagos make it extremely difficult for many Nigerians to obtain essential medical care".

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