Sunday, September 26, 2021

22,000 NHIS enrolees, babies on life-support deprived healthcare as Kano gov’t shuts Muhammadu Buhari, Isyaku Rabiu Hospitals

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The Kano State Ultra-modern Specialists Hospitals Board, KUSH Board, has ignored a court order to reopen Muhammadu Buhari Specialists Hospital and Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu Paediatrics Hospital.

Following the establishment of the two specialists hospitals, the Kano State government established the KUSH Board as the governing body to look after the affairs of the two health facilities.

DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that after the establishment of the board, a joint venture agreement, under Public Private Partnership, PPP, was entered into between Kano State Government, represented by the KUSH Board and Northfield Health Care Services Limited.

It was gathered that while Northfield Health Care Services Limited was agreed to manage, maintain and provide health care services in the two health facilities to the general public, KUSH Board would serve as overseer of the management of the two hospitals.

At the beginning, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that there was a smooth working relationship between the two parties, until recently when a new board was constituted under the chairmanship of Professor Yusuf Sabo.

Mr Sabo doubles as the chairman of Bichi Local Government Council in the state.

Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu Paediatrics Hospital
Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu Paediatrics Hospital

It was that as soon as the new board assumed duty, it suddenly filed a suit at High Court of Kano State, Bichi Judicial Division on June 18, seeking among other prayers, an order of the court to shut down operations in the two hospitals.

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On getting the court order, policemen and other security operatives were deployed to sack all the staff and patients on admission. It took the pleadings of the Northfield to get a grace of one week to discharge all the patients, however critical their conditions.

Insiders said the order was obtained without considering the risk involved in denying over 22,000 enrolees/beneficiaries of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, who are mostly civil servants and patients with special cases that could only be treated at the two ultra-modern specialists hospitals.

A source said one of the hospitals serves as referral center for at least 10 states.

“For example, the Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu Paediatrics Hospital is the referral centre for more than 10 states in the north for premature born babies life support and care facility technically termed “Preterm Babies in the SCBU” and there at least 24 babies on admission in the facility forcefully discharged from the hospitals. This decision is uncalled for,” said the source.

DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that Clause 15.0 of the PPP agreement specifically states that all parties should resort to arbitration in case of any disputes between the parties. This was meant to avoid conflict that could disrupt public health services delivery to patients in the two health facilities.

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But on July 2, citing Clause 15.0 of the PPP agreement, Northfield Health Services Ltd challenged the court order, and sought a stay.

Ruling on the application on July 29, Justice Sanusi Ado-Ma’aji ordered that the two parties should maintain status quo and the two specialists hospitals be reopened until the determination of the application.

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The court also vacated its earlier order granted on June 18.

But despite the court order, the KUSH Board had still refused to let Northfield resume operations in the hospitals.

When contacted, the chairman of KUSH Board, denied that the two specialists hospitals are closed down, saying that the facilities are in full operation and even upgraded.

Mr Sabo said Muhammadu Buhari Specialists Hospital had since been designated by the Kano State government as COVID-19 isolation center, adding that all activities for coronavirus response are taking place there.

He also denied that Khalifa Isyaku Rabiu Paediatric Hospital was shut down, saying “go to the hospital and see with your eyes.”

“The word closure should be removed because the facility is opened, in full operation. Everywhere in the hospital is functioning. I beg you to go and see how works are going on in the hospital,” he told our correspondent.

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When our correspondent visited the hospitals, there were no Northfield staff in the hospital and the wards were closed.

Insiders said the state government, in order to cover its track, now restored only out-patient services at Isyaku Rabiu Paediatric Hospital without allowing the statutory managers, Northfield, to take over as ordered by the court.

“What is happening in reality is that the board has transferred the entire operation of Hasiya Bayero Paediatric Hospital to Isyaku Rabiu Paediatric Hospital to deceive the public that it obeyed the court order to reopen it (Isyaku Rabiu Paediatric Hospital).

“Let me tell you that these two specialists hospitals are still closed down. This is a trick employed by the board to deceive the public, especially when the issue was reported in media. In reality, the facilities are still closed.

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“In fact, we wrote to the KUSH Board to hand over the operation of the hospitals back to us, but has failed to respond to our request,” a source familiar with the development lamented.

When contacted again over the transfer of the entire staff and patients of Hasiya Bayero Paediatric Hospital to Isyaku Rabiu Paediatric Hospital, the KUSH Board chairman confirmed the development without further elaboration.

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