The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clems Agba, has said the Auditor-General of the Federation will soon be invited to audit the N950m COVID-19 intervention fund allocated to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).
Agba, who spoke shortly after a facility tour of the UPTH isolation centre, expressed anger over what he described as the poor state of the isolation centre.
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He said what he saw on ground could not justify the N950m allocated to the hospital as COVID-19 intervention fund.
He said the Federal Government through its intervention fund allocated a sum of N950m to each of the 52 Federal Medical Centres and Teaching Hospitals where it was intervening.
“I’m sure you can tell from my mood I have visited about 20 out of 52 Federal Medical Centres and Teaching Hospitals where we are intervening.
“For me this is the worst I have seen and I still want to believe that the intervention process is still on. You look at the isolation centre and if you come from home well and you enter the place, you will fall sick and that is not the intervention we wanted.
“Even the molecular lab is so small, so congested. We were in Kano last week they put up a brand new building, very well laid out, very clean facilities and with equipment.
“I don’t see that here. I cannot tell whether the funds have been judiciously applied or not until the audit team comes to have a look at it . From what I have seen here, I don’t think that the fund has been judiciously applied.
“We have released the sum of N950m for each of the 52 centres to build molecular labs and furnish them; isolation centres for 10 bedded ICU units and for personal protective equipment and this was done in the 52 hospitals.
“When the auditor general comes, the result of their report will determine whether EFCC or ICPC will have to come in,” he said.
The Chief Medical Director of UPTH, Professor Henry Ugboma, said the hospital management made judicious use of the fund allocated to the hospital.
He said that money released for COVID-19 intervention were channeled in four areas such as the ICU unit, the molecular lab, personnel protective equipment and infrastructures.
He said when the omicron various broke out the management of the hospital decided to ventilate isolation centre which he said were covered with black soot, saying that all the equipment bought for the centre were safely kept.