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Drug Scarcity Hits Aso Rock Clinic Despite N3.87bn Budget

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Despite the N3.87bn allocated to it in the 2016 Appropriation Act, lack of drugs and other essential medical items have crippled operations at the State House Medical Centre.

The centre provides medical services to the President, Vice-President and their families, aides, members of staff of the State House and other entitled public servants.

It is also a training facility for house officers and other medical personnel.

 Investigations by our correspondent showed that the centre located in Asokoro, a highbrow area of the Federal Capital Territory, is gradually becoming a shadow of its old self.

A cross-section of the centre’s patients said that patients were now being asked to go and buy drugs from outside as they were no longer available in the centre.

Most hit, it was further learnt, are patients with kidney problems who are currently undergoing dialysis in the facility.

Although, some of them are expected to be undergoing the dialysis at least twice a week, the centre’s management has been cancelling such exercise lately, therefore putting the lives of the patients at risk.

In some instances when they attend to them, the patients are made to come with some of the items the doctors will use for the exercise.

Our correspondent learnt that the centre’s management had resorted to sending text messages to patients on items they should bring for their treatment.

In one of such messages sent to a patient, the management wrote, “Mr. XXX (names withheld), when u (sic) are coming for dialysis on Monday, buy IVF Normal Saline to be used for ur (sic) dialysis. The office doesn’t  have it. Buy like four pieces.”

Normal Saline IVF solution is used in the treatment, control, prevention and improvement of conditions such as low sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium levels as well as blood and fluid loss.

It improves the patients’ condition by maintaining proper fluid balance and keeping the tissues hydrated.

Another patient who spoke with our correspondent said he had a crisis recently because the centre cancelled his routine dialysis.

He said the centre’s management cancelled the session because of non-availability of bloodline.

He showed our correspondent a message sent to him on the cancellation.

The message read, “Gudevening (sic), we can’t dialize (sic) you tomorrow because we don’t have bloodline. When it is available, I will get back to you. Pls (sic) dialyse (sic) somewhere else. Thanks.”

The patient said the first time the session was cancelled, he was referred to a private hospital in Garki where he paid N20,000.

He added that when he could not afford the cost the second time, he was directed to another hospital in Wuse.

“As a result of the stress I passed through, by the time I returned home, I was very weak. My health situation deteriorated midnight and my people rushed me to the hospital. I was discharged about three days after,” he said.

Many other patients who spoke with our correspondent said the medical centre could no longer boast of “ordinary malaria drugs.”

“The clinic does not even have ordinary paracetamol. Paracetamol was included in the list of drugs they asked me to go and buy recently. Before now, they were giving us drugs.” another patient said.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, did not pick his calls when our correspondent attempted to get his reaction on Tuesday.

He also did not respond to a text message sent to him on the issue.

The Permanent Secretary, State House, Alhaji Jalal Arabi, had while defending the State House’s budget before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs, and members of the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties disclosed that N3.2bn of the budget was earmarked for the upgrade of State House Clinic to a Centre of Excellence.

Arabi had said, “The budget for the State House Medical Centre included N3.219bn proposed for the completion of ongoing work as well as procurement of drugs and other medical equipment.

“The Medical Centre provides health care treatment for the President and Vice-President, their families as well as numerous civil servants working in the State House and across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government and of course, with due respect, including parliamentarians and members of the legislature in addition to other notable dignitaries.

“Interestingly, Mr. Chairman, on a lighter note, not only those that have been captured here attend (the Medical Centre) there are poor of the poorest that attend because we receive reference from Gwagwalada, Garki, Wuse hospitals.

“So, if they come, we attend to them and interestingly too at no fee at all, we don’t charge.

“The anticipated improvement of the Medical Centre will propel it to serve as a Centre of Excellence and also reduce medical tourism.

“May I also add that the State House Medical Centre, unlike other medical centres does not charge any fees for its services and hence does not generate any revenue for itself.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus

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Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus

Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.

On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.

OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”

“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”

Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.

The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.

Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.

But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.

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Crude Oil

OPEC Says Uncertainties Remain High in 2021

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OPEC Says Uncertainties Remain High in 2021

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Thursday said global uncertainties remained high going forward in 2021 but kept its oil demand forecast unchanged.

In the cartel’s latest oil outlook for 2021, oil demand is expected to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to 95.9 million barrels per day. The prediction was unchanged from December’s assessment.

However, OPEC and allies, said: “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”

“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.

Crude oil rose to $57 per barrel this week after incoming US President Joe Biden announced it would inject $1.9 trillion stimulus into the world’s largest economy.

But the recent rally in the commodity and stimulus announcement is expected to boost US crude oil output and disrupt OPEC+ production cuts strategy for the year.

The 2021 supply outlook is now slightly more optimistic for U.S. shale with oil prices increasing, and output is expected to recover more in the second half of 2021,” OPEC said.

Still, OPEC, in its forecast “assumes a healthy recovery in economic activities including industrial production, an improving labour market and higher vehicle sales than in 2020.”

“Accordingly, oil demand is anticipated to rise steadily this year supported primarily by transportation and industrial fuels,” the group said.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Rose to $56.25 Per Barrel

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Brent Crude Oil Rose to $56.25 Per Barrel

Oil price surged following the declaration of Joe Biden as the President-elect of the United States of America last week after Trump’s mob invaded Capitol to disrupt a joint Senate session.

Also, the large drop in US crude inventories helped support crude oil price to over 11 months despite the second wave of COVID-19 crushing the world from Asia to Europe to America.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian Crude oil is priced, rose to $56.25 per barrel on Friday before pulling back to $55.422 per barrel on Monday during the London trading session.

Experts attributed the pullback to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Asia with about 11 million people already locked down in Hebei province in China.

Covid hot spots flaring again in Asia, with 11 million people (in) lockdowns in China Hebei province… along with a touch of FED policy uncertainty has triggered some profit taking out of the gates this morning,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said in a note on Monday.

China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, has joined the United Kingdom and others declaring full or partial lockdown to curb the second wave of COVID-19.

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