Haruna Mohammed, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of WikkiTimes newspaper, an online accountability platform in Bauchi State, has bemoaned the government’s attitude towards prosecuting some entities and individuals who’s corrupt practices were exposed by the platform.
The publisher stated this on a live radio program on Kiss FM Abuja. The program, WikkiTimes learnt was organised by Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG), a civil society organization working to promote good governance, participation in Nigeria.
“What we are telling the authorities concerned is that they should look at us as partners in progress, there is the need for government to take immediate action to stop these corrupt practices,” Haruna said. “But whenever we reported these, they look as us as we are exposing their agencies.”
Haruna delved further intocorrupt practices in Bauchi State health sector where WikkiTimes’ recent undercover investigation unearthed some corrupt practices.
However, the agencies that are supposed to prosecute the exposed health workers kept mute weeks after the investigation.
“There is no local government that is not touched by these corruption, we sampled the three Senatorial Zones of the state, I can authoratively tell you that in one way or the other, there are corrupt practices in the health care system,” Haruna revealed. “It is not only the sales of drugs by corrupt officials there are other practices going on.”
Further, he said the Executive Secretary of the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency and other stakeholders in the health sector are aware of the challenges and they
conceded in separate interviews with WikkiTimes, but they argued that they lack the resources needed to monitor ad check the anomalies.
“On government papers, there are 323 Primary Healthcare Centres in Bauchi State which are supposed to be manned by professional doctors, nurse and other staff. Let me give you example with Darazo local government, there are 69 Healthcare Centres across the local government and one general hospital but the local government has only 16 nurses, one pharmacy and one medical doctor that only visit Darazo 4 times in a week,” he added.
According to findings, some NGOs and the government duly supply drugs to the health care facilities to help the needy populations. Sadly, these drugs are being diverted by some officials who sold them to private pharmacies and chemists at a cheaper rate.
This in turn makes life difficult for the targeted beneficiaries.
Another guest on the program Dr Ifayi Nsofu, a Public Health Advocate said it is embarrassing that these practices are happening at the PHCs, noting they are symptoms of decayed health care system and attribute it to lack of commitment by the local government administration which is supposed to look in to the centres.
“The PHCs are directly the responsibilities of the local governments but because of political system we have most of the local governments are not manned by executive chairmen but caretakers who cannot do the needful.
“If PHCs are to be strengthened, the local government should be functional with chairmen elected through the electoral process and the PHCs should work in partnership with the communities. Groups like Ward Development Committees are key actors in health care delivery but they failed because they are the product of societies with no accountability,” said Nwosu.
A caller who spoke anonymously said he has served in Bauchi for over ten years and that the trend was there since and called for concerted efforst to change the narration.
However, Haruna in a response said if there is close monitoring by the benefitting communities and attitudinal change at all levels, the attitude will controlled it but in as much as the authorities concerned continue to show ‘I don’t care attitude’, the sector will continue to deteriorate.
He opined that there should also be reward and punishment in the system but if no one is held accountable for his actions or in actions and lack of interest by the stakeholders, the story will continue to be the same.