Kaduna Passes New Circular Sending Emergency Patients First To Banks And To Their Graves

Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai in attendance

Kaduna: A State Where Policy Pays Government And Accompanies Masses To Their Graves

By Malam Isah Abbas Ahmed

Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, Kofan Gayan Zaria is one of the well known State owned hospitals. Situated at near-center (meters away from the city wall) of Zaria city, the hospital has been a point of call for a lot of sick people, both near and far.

Before attending to patients, even on emergency cases, a card must be purchased at N100 only for a new patient. This was however reported to be porous and allowed leaks in revenue generation for the state government. It was also suspected that sometimes patients are attended to without paying the said amount.

In an effort to patch the identified loopholes, Kaduna State government passed a circular on Friday, 22nd January 2016 which states that every single payment must be made in some designated banks and no longer at payment centers within the hospital. This circular, however, entails for new patients to make N100 payment in some banks before they are attended to. After that, every single payment for investigations and drugs prescribed must also be paid in the banks. The irony here is, all banks except Stanbic IBTC with branch at Kasuwan Zaria, are situated very far from the hospital (PZ Zaria). This means, for a patient to be registered, at least N200 needs to be used for transport to purchase a N100 card.

The circular was fully enforced Monday 25th January 2016. On Tuesday 26th January 2016, a woman was brought to the hospital very sick and her relatives were asked to go to PZ and pay for her card. One of the relatives rushed, but unfortunately the woman DIED before he came back. SAD!

In another incidence, a heavily pregnant woman was brought today, Sunday 31st January 2016, already bleeding. They were asked to leave because they had no card and today, being Sunday, banks do not operate, there is no way they can purchase one. There are a lot of other terrible incidences not mention.

When contacted, some nurses who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were strongly instructed not to attend to anyone prior to such payment. The penalty of any defaulter is sack straight without any entitlement.

While I agree that the State Government’s policy in blocking any revenue leakage is good, the procedure followed in implementing it is totally wrong. The governor would’ve learned from ABUTH Shika where Zenith Bank operates. They stationed cashiers at numerous payment centers in all service departments within the hospital and open 24 hours/7 days.

For me, the government should take full responsibility of any life lost in this process and immediately retract this decision until a standard procedure is put in place for banks to place payment centers which will operate 24/7 within the hospital.

I also wish to draw the attention of all concerned Zaria leaders and elders to call for immediate retract of this evil policy that looks good only in the eyes of its initiators.

May the souls of the departed due to this devilish policy rest in perfect peace.