Monday, February 8, 2016 6:34 pm
The mutli-billion naira Cardiac, Renal Centre within the premises of the Gbagada General Hospital in Lagos, western Nigeria has not been functional, almost a year after it was commissioned by former Governor Babatunde Fashola.
In March, 2015, the former governor commissioned the centre, one of which was expected to attract revenue for the state and cater for the health need of people suffering from related ailments.
Sources within the centre have revealed that the centre has not commenced full operation since then because most of the facilities in place, as provided by the contractor, Deux Project, are not up to standard.
Some of the staff also revealed same to the Committee on Health Services of the Lagos State House of Assembly, led by Olusegun Olulade, when the committee paid a visit to the centre.
The committee was at the centre to ascertain how it had functioned since its commissioning.
The committee members were shocked with the revelations that emerged during the visit after the members learnt that some of the equipment installed by the contractor at the centre have never functioned for a single day.
It was revealed that the Catheterization Laboratory (Cathlab) machine, a diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualise the arteries and chambers of the heart, and treat any abnormality found, which was said to have cost about $1.5 million was not functioning,
Some other non-functional facilities at the centre include a theatre unit with two theatre suites with laminar flow air-control; central sterilisation and supply unit; four bed recovery room echo lab; stress lab; 24 dialysis machines; pharmacy; laboratories; ophthalmology clinic for eye screening; physiotherapy/rehabilitation unit.
It was also learnt that most consultants, professionals and doctors employed by the centre had left since they could not operate the facilities.
Chief Executive Officer of the Centre, Prof. Babatunde Green, also confirmed the situation to the committee
He even explained that the building was already suffering some defects.
Prof. Green said the building already had cracks on its walls. It also has electrical defects as well as defect with the elevator adding that Renescor Health, which manages the centre under a Public Private Partnership scheme, had been responsible for the maintenance of the building so it does not collapse.
He said: “since we came on board, we have not been able to do anything because a lot of the equipment that were installed are not functioning.
“Apart from the fact that the elevators are not working, they don’t have ventilation and this is dangerous to the patients because if you are taking a patient in that kind of lift, the patient could suffocate before you get to the theatre.
“Even in the operating rooms, there are no cooling systems. The machine in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory which cost about 1.5 million dollars has never worked from day one that it was installed.
“We have tried everything humanly possible to ensure that things are put in order here; we have written several letters to the Ministry of Health and there have been no response or whatsoever.
“We have brought engineers to fix the minor problems, such as the electrical defects, but they are requesting for the drawing so as to make the work easier for them but the contractor has not cooperated in this regard at all.
“This place should by now be making good revenue for the state because it is the only one in Nigeria and people with heart and renal related ailments are supposed to be coming here for treatment.
“We have employed staff whom we are paying on monthly basis but nothing is happening here.”
Deux Project Limited, according to findings by the committee, executed the project and several other projects within the state.
Some of these projects include Maternal and Child Centres in Badagry, Epe, Lekki; Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences and Auditorium; Fence, Arcade and Driveway in Lekki.
Members of the committee, which include some members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, could not hide their disappointments.
The committee members promised to investigate the issue and ensure justice was done.
“We can’t fold our arms and not look into why the equipment here are not working. I was on a television station few days ago and I was bragging about this place; telling the presenters that it is the only one in Nigeria and that it is the best in Africa, but I never knew that nothing is happening here,” Olulade said.
The committee, according to findings, has sat twice over the issue, but when contacted, Olulade could not speak as the committee had not concluded its investigation.