The Federal Government has approved N120 million as intervention fund for the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba, to assist the hospital in upgrading its facilities.

Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of State for Health, disclosed this on Friday in Asaba during his official tour of the hospital.

Ehanire said the fund would go a long way in improving the lot of the hospital.

“The Federal Ministry of Health and the National Health Scheme have put together an intervention fund to the tune of N120 million for the FMC Asaba to assist the hospital.

“The FMC is expected to use the fund according to its work plan in upgrading the hospital and to enable it render improved services to the public,” he said.

The minister said his visit to the hospital was to access its facilities and working conditions at the hospital and see ways the federal government can assist in improving repositioning of the FMC for better service delivery.

He noted that paucity of funds was a major challenge facing every sector of the nation’s economy, attributing the challenge to the huge drop in oil revenue in the global market.

Ehanire said: “There is challenge everywhere in the country and this is because of the drop in global oil price which has our revenue to crash drastically.

“We are also aware that the restiveness in the Niger Delta has hampered our production capacity, causing the nation huge loss.”

The minister however noted that the FMC is facing so much pressure in service delivery, due to the failure of primary health centres across the country to discharge their responsibilities to the public.

He said the FMC was primarily established to undertake tertiary health service delivery, but regrettably, the hospital has been saddled with treatment of minor primary health cases.

“The Federal Medical Centres are not supposed to be treating cases of catarrh and cough; these minor ailments should be handled by the primary health centres.

“But because our primary healthcare centres are not functioning well as they are supposed to do, many of these cases now come to the FMC,” Ehanire noted.

He said that the federal government would revitalise and reposition primary health centres in all political wards across the nation to discharge their primary responsibilities to the public.

Earlier, the acting Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the FMC Asaba, Dr Victor Osiatuma, highlighted some of the achievements of the hospital, including the improvement from a 30-bed facility at inception to 274 beds.

He also said the hospital has achieved remarkable improvement by the Residency Training programme which it commenced in 2010 with the accreditation of the Family Medicine department.

On challenges facing the FMC, Osiatuma pointed out that the incessant strike actions in the FMC was hampering efficient service delivery, and called for government action plan to address the challenge.

“These incessant strike actions have not helped the image of the health sector and patient attendance in the hospitals. Many of the agitations of the health sector are already in the public domain.

“It is our view that government should quickly come out with definite guidelines/measures, even if temporary, which will be of uniform application to all the hospitals in the country,” Osiatuma said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highpoint of the minister’s visit was the inauguration of the newly-built Accident and Emergency department and the newly-renovated Utility block, which accommodates the Physiotherapy department.