Cross River suspends hospital vendor over financial fraud, mismanagement

Health commissioner Henry Ayuk has suspended the operations of a vendor running the pharmacy unit of the General Hospital Calabar for financial impropriety and poor quality assurance.

Mr Ayuk suspended the vendor on Tuesday during an unscheduled visit to the hospital after the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) suspended its 40-day strike.

Bothered by the anomalies bedeviling the hospital, the commissioner confirmed the absence of remittances to the government by the pharmacy operator, for 15 months. He also alleged the lack of qualified personnel in the pharmacy, describing the unit as a “quack shop” laden with sharp practices.

“The people managing the pharmacy are not qualified. They do not have any background in pharmacy. So we do not know why they are here. As far as I am concerned, that place is a quack shop, because it does not have the required personnel.

“How do you ensure quality assurance when you do not even have pharmacy technicians, which is a minimum requirement for such services? Accordingly, I have asked the vendor to see us so we can review the memorandum of understanding they entered with the government, in order to truly ascertain what the government expects of them,” stated Mr Ayuk.

Mr Ayuk directed the pharmacy to suspend services. He directed the medical superintendent, accountants of the hospital, health ministry and the hospital pharmacists to take charge.

The commissioner stated that they were to have a record of the stock balance and ensure accountability in their operations until more effective arrangements would be put in place.

Mr Ayuk appealed to those in charge of the laboratories to block revenue leakages through accountability.

“We have also asked that they come to the office for their agreement to be looked into. We want to see exactly what value they are bringing to the hospital that guarantees the 15 per cent they receive. So all those things will be reviewed for us to come out with a more effective plan.

“Our emphasis is that the health sector must render services that are reminiscent of the Governor Bassey Otu-led administration’s ‘People First’ agenda. We want people to be conscious of the fact that there is a government that gives premium attention to their health. But we must fight against leakages that impede our desire to bring healthcare services to the ordinary man in the society,” explained Mr Ayuk.


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