Incorporate teaching hospitals into TETFUND —UCTH CMD urges NASS

Owing to the challenges of funding in Teaching/ Tertiary Hospitals across the country, Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Dr Thomas Agan, has appealed to the National Assembly to amend the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) Act of 2011 to incorporate teaching/tertiary health institutions.

Dr Agan, who made the appeal during a press conference in Calabar at the weekend, said it had become absolutely necessary to integrate teaching/tertiary hospitals in TETFUND for effective healthcare delivery, training and research.

The UCTH CMD, who decried poor funding of teaching hospitals and tertiary health institutions across the country, noted that no budgetary appropriation had ever been made for the training and research needs of tertiary hospitals, a situation he said was seriously affecting healthcare delivery.

Agan further lamented that most tertiary institution’s overhead allocation was unable to pay for monthly consumed public power supply to the institutions, not to talk of paying for a truck load of diesel, servicing backup generators sets as well as taking care of other subheads meant for the allocated overhead funds.

He said that universities, polytechnics and colleges of education had improved their infrastructures, training needs and research through TETFUND, adding that tertiary health institutions were also educational institutions that required upliftment to better the health of Nigerians.

The UCTH CMD said: ‘’I wonder why proponents of TETFUND did not consider it necessary to recognise teaching/tertiary hospitals as tertiary institutions. A teaching hospital all over the world is considered both tertiary health institution as well as tertiary training institution. The activities in a teaching hospital are obvious and can therefore be ascertained.

‘’ Section 3(1) of the act established the fund for the rehabilitation, restoration and consolidation of tertiary education in Nigeria. The teaching and tertiary hospitals can be called the workshop of the universities because 80 per cent of all students graduating through medical school of a university must have their training through teaching or tertiary hospital.

‘’ Adequate evaluation of the mandates of the Trust Fund reveals a genuine relevance as it pertains to the development of teaching and research by the teaching hospitals in Nigeria. The teaching hospitals are supposed to benefit from the activities of the fund considering their area of coverage.

‘’ The question now is, based on the mandate of the fund, can a teaching hospital be categorised under tertiary institutions? The answer is yes ,considering its mandates. How then can one juxtapose the mandates of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and that of a hospital? A careful inquisition into the teaching hospitals reconstitution of boards, Cap 463 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 is therefore necessary.

Agan, who is also the Chairman, Committee of Chief Executives of Tertiary Health Institutions, stressed that it was possible that formulators of the Act were not sufficiently informed at the time, adding that it was, however, not late for the National Assembly to amend the TETFUND Act in order to address the pathetic situation faced by teaching/tertiary hospitals.

‘’ History will not forget the members of the 7th National Assembly as they amend this TETFUND Act that will ensure proper funding of our tertiary health institutions. The Act should be amended to incorporate teaching and tertiary institutions’’, he added