The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, has said that 80 per cent of the equipment belonging to the agency has not been working.
Adeyeye made the statement on Monday in Lagos while receiving members of the Senate Committee on Health who were on a tour of federal health institutions in the state.
She said, “80 per cent of our equipment is no longer working and that is a major challenge to deliver on our mandate. The last time, the World Health Organisation visited our laboratory in Yaba, they scored us zero.”
The NAFDAC DG also complained that the agency was understaffed and awaiting the approval of the Head of Service of the Federation to recruit more personnel.
On the debt profile of the agency, Adeyeye said she met a debt of N3.2bn when she assumed office, but she was able to reduce it to N400m.
The Vice-Chairman of the committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, urged the NAFDAC boss to jettison the idea of procurring buses manufactured abroad and patronise locally made vehicles in order to help grow the economy.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuosho, commended Adeyeye for her efforts in revamping the agency.
Tejuosho, however, told the DG to prioritise the needs of the agency and present them to the Ministry of Health so that it would reflect in the 2019 budget.
The committee also visited on-going projects at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Meta, Federal Neuro-Psychiatrist Hospital, Yaba and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi.
Speaking with journalists at the end of the exercise, Tejuosho said the general observation in all the places the team visited was the problem of funding and prompt release of fund to the hospitals.
“Most of them have only received about 10 per cent of their 2018 capital budget, which makes it difficult for us to blame them for lack of performance. We cannot expect them to do a lot with only 10 per cent of the fund they need for the whole year.
“We chose the institutions that we visited today because they are the institution our people need to reverse medical tourism. Like the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Igbobi, they must be given special attention. This is because once you have an orthopeadic case, it is very difficult to be flown abroad until you are stabilised,” Tejuosho said.
He also promised that his committee would ensure the improvement of the budget appropriation for the hospitals, as well as appeal to the Federal Government to make enough funds available to the health sector.