Outrage in Senate over non – utilisation of N1.5bn cancer fund

Members of the Senate Committee on Health Thursday frowned over N1.5billion fund released to the federal ministry of health for treatment of cancer patients but yet to be utilised.

Specifically, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC Kwara Central), stated based on available records, N729 million had been released from the money in 2021 aside N800 million fully released in 2020 representing 100%, of the total fund yet no single patient has been treated with the funds

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and the Director, Department of Hospital Services, Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, said the Federal Ministry of Health has been ready since June to kick off with the programme, but waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to officially launch the fund to attract private donors.

Not satisfied with the explanation, the committee gave a deadline of first week of December, to commence the programme by mandating the minister to launch it on behalf of the president.

“The ceremony is not necessary when patients die on a daily basis as a result of cancer,” said the Chairman of the Committee.

“This special fund was not meant for warehousing but urgently use for purpose it is meant for, the very reason the sum was approved in 2020 without any reduction because of concern for those suffering from cancer,” Oloriegbe added.

The minister however assured the lawmakers that the programme will kickstart before the end of this month.

Senator Betty Apafi also questioned the N10billon COVID-19 funds appropriated for local production of vaccine budgeted in the 2021 supplementary budget but yet to be implemented when the year is almost coming to an end.

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