Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Tertiary health institutions in the country have stated that including them as beneficiaries from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, would result in massive development of their physical and human infrastructure.
Chairman of the Committee of Chief Executives of Tertiary Health Institutions in the country, Professor Thomas Agan, who stated this said already, a bill to include the institutions is before the National Assembly.
“Once that is done to include the Tertiary hospitals in TETFund, it will take care of the infrastructural development, training, research and other things,” Agan said while speaking to journalists in Calabar on Tuesday.
Agan, who is also the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University Of Calabar Teaching Hospital, said with unfolding issues concerning the running of tertiary health institutions; it has become necessary that the exclusion from TETFund Act of 2011 was a grievous mistake.
“I have said it quite often that over 80 per cent of students who come from medical school must pass through the tertiary hospital. We train postgraduate doctors; we train nurses and other staff. So, are we not a tertiary health institution? So why did they eliminate tertiary hospitals? Section 7 sub sections 3 (1) of that act specifically says a sharing formula should be the ratio of 2: 1:5:1 for Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
However, we have presented the white papers to the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions through the Minister of Health with a view to amending Section 7(1) Sub-Section 3 of the Act to read thus: the distribution of the Fund, shall be in the ratio of 2:1:5:1: between Universities, Tertiary Hospitals, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education,” Agan said.
Describing teaching hospitals as tertiary training institutions, , Agan said: “I give you an instance, the University collects school fees from students, the students comes through here and use our consumables. The University does not contribute to consumables these students use. It is unfair for tertiary hospitals not to be included in TETFund.”
On the promotion arrears owed staff of tertiary health institutions in the country, Agan disclosed that said the federal government has not released funds for the purpose since 2013, but stressed that the federal government was not relenting in its effort to pay the arrears.
“The Federal government has not been paying promotion arrears since 2013. In 2013 they made some part payment, 2014 to 2016 have not been paid. Even the promotion that was done in 2016 in most teaching hospitals including Calabar, the report has not come out from the Federal Ministry of Health.
“The implication is that we depend on our supervisory ministry, and if money is not given to you how you do pay? For now, 2014, 2015, 2016 and part of 2013 promotion arrears has not been paid.
“The government has calculated it, it is in the budget office, and all that is needed is for the Federal Minister of Finance to authorize cash –backing. The government is doing their best to ensure that civil servants in the health sector do not suffer unnecessarily because it is their right not a privilege”, he said.