By Jon Egie




Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Gov of Delta State.

Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Gov of Delta State.

Patronage of public hospitals across Delta State has dropped due to the impact of recession on the spending power of the people. The low patronage has also affected the IGR of the hospitals from which, running cost for public hospitals is derived.

A highly placed medical source at the Ughelli Central Hospital who pleaded anonymity told our reporter that the monthly imprest usually disbursed by the State government as running cost for public hospitals has been stopped by the Okowa administration and in its place, the State Health Management Board (HMB), remits approved sum of money arising from a budget prepared by each of the public hospitals, as running cost.

The source said funds harnessed as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) are disbursed to the State HMB which in turn remits approved sum to the respective hospitals after studying and approving their budgets.

But due to the low patronage of public hospitals as a result of the prevailing economic recession, the IGR thus far is low and since the remittance by the HMB to the hospitals for running cost is a fraction of the funds realized as IGR, the hospitals have financial constraints in doing what is needful and hence, patients experience some difficulty during visitation.

“In any case, we have been able to utilize what is remitted to us frugally and that is why you see the hospital functioning” the source said.

The source noted that the maternity ward of the Ughelli Central Hospital needs renovation and commended Mr Ovoke Oshasha, an Ughelli based businessman who recently painted and donated bedding to the hospital temporary maternity ward.

Our source used the opportunity to call on other well meaning members of the public to assist the hospital in any way that could be useful and improve health services to patients.

There were recent complaints that the services usually rendered by the public hospitals in Delta for free during the administration of Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan now attract charges with relative increase in cost of drugs.

But our source said the Delta State government subsidizes a lot of medical services in public hospitals, “so the effect of recession is felt more by the private medical practitioners”