By Tola Adenubi, Lagos
Some boat operators operating along the Lagos State waterways have said that the multi-million naira Lagos State floating clinic commissioned in June 2022 is practically lying idle at anchorage, doing nothing since its commissioning.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, some of the boat operators who wouldn’t want their names in print for fear of being victimised by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), said that since its launch, the clinic has neither attended to any crisis situation recorded on the waterways nor visit any riverine community as planned.
According to the boat operators, “Why has the media not been raising questions about the floating clinic launched by the Lagos State government last year? The facility is just there at Falomo, doing nothing. We have recorded boat mishaps in recent weeks and months. Maybe you people should ask LASWA how many of such situations has the floating clinic responded to?
“How can the state government expend huge taxpayers’ money on such a facility only for it to lie idle? Aside from reports of its launch, what have you heard about the floating clinic since June of 2022? How many riverine communities has the floating clinic visited? None.
“We have a culture of wasting away public assets in this country and we won’t be surprised if the floating clinic goes the same way as others. Because it is on the waterways, nobody is noticing its gradual rot or abandonment, but every time we pass by the floating clinic where it lies in anchorage along the waterways, we just imagine the manner at which we waste public funds in this country.”
When contacted by Nigerian Tribune for reaction to the allegation of rot of the floating clinic under its care, the General Manager of LASWA, Mr Damilola Emmanuel, stated that the boat operators don’t understand the purpose of the floating clinic.
Mr Emmanuel said, “The floating clinic is not idle. It is for medical interventions and emergency purposes. It is not meant to go out every day. The floating clinic has had a few interventions last year and this year.
“The boat operators don’t understand the purpose of the floating clinic. It has not been idle.”
When asked for details of the activities of the floating clinic since June 2022, the LASWA General Manager promised to get back to our correspondent. However, as at the time of filing in this report, Nigerian Tribune was yet to get details of the activities of the floating clinic.
Recall that the Lagos State government, in June 2022, launched a floating clinic boat, a fibreglass, mono hull boat 200HP by two capacity, for inland waterways medical emergency and riverine communities medical outreach services.
The floating clinic was introduced to increase access to prompt, qualitative and efficient healthcare services on the waterways and riverine communities across Lagos.
The floating clinic is equipped with four medical observation beds, a medium sterilisation unit, O2 bottle, a gauge, infusion stand, a foldable stretcher and a fully kitted first aid box.
The clinic boat, which is compartmentalised into four sections, including the wheelhouse (for captain and crew), observation room (for patients), doctor’s office and nurses station and reception, has marine safety equipment, including life-jackets, fire bucket, life buoy, life rat fire extinguisher and navigational lights, as well as navigational equipment like garmin echomap, compass, VHF radio accessories and siren.
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