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Atiku, APC Governors Criticise FG’s Health Care Approach

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IMAGE: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, ormer vice president of the country »


Governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday criticised the federal government’s approach to health care system.

The governors, who spoke in in Owerri, the Imo State capital at their third Progressive Governors’ Forum governance lecture series, urged the federal government  to put in place proper effort to tackle the many health challenges facing the country in recent times.
At the meeting where the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), his Edo and Sokoto States counterparts, Adams Oshiomhole and Aliyu Wamakko, were conspicuously absent for inexplicable reasons, former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenged the federal government to wake up from its slumber and tackle  the current health and security challenges.

Atiku, who chaired the forum, while addressing the participants which included some senators and members of the House of Representatives, regretted that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has  become the worst monster confronting  the  African continent.

He contended that the disease requires an  unprecedented and adequate investment in the health sector to spare the people from possible  extermination.

Atiku blamed Nigeria’s relative under-development and poor governance to  lack of vision by leaders.

He said Nigeria has the resources, but needed “leadership, vision and determination to make things work.”

The former vice-president who commended the theme of the lecture, ‘Dealing with the Challenges of Building a Physically-healthy Nation through preventive, Protective and Innovative Medicare,” decried the upsurge of maternal and infant mortality in the country and gave an assurance that an APC-controlled federal government in 2015 would take necessary steps to transform the country for a better tomorrow.

The former vice-president’s speech, which  dwelt extensively on health and the outbreak of EVD in Nigeria, regretted that the incident  had brought to the fore Nigeria’s emergency management response strategies.

According to him, the arrival of the fatal disease calls for urgent need for adequate investments in healthcare, infrastructure and service delivery across the country.

Addressing the inconsistency between Nigeria’s resources and its performance, Atiku said the statistics are disturbing and that the outbreak of Ebola had only exposed the underbelly of the nation’s healthcare system.

Despite Nigeria’s vast resources and human capital, he regretted that the doctor-to-patient ratio in Nigeria is 1 to 6,400, which is far below the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of 1 to 600.

He also lamented that at 50 per cent access to improved water source and 35 per cent adequate sanitation for Nigerians, the country is among the lowest in the world.

On infant and maternal mortality rate of 74 and 630 respectively, the former vice-president said the figures put Nigeria among the worst.
According to him, health is not a privilege, but a right which “every citizen in a modern society is entitled to.”

He explained that security and healthcare are critical areas posing urgent and grave challenges to Nigeria. He said emphasis on healthcare education is no less important, and that it was embarrassing that in the 21st century, Nigerians would be resorting to crude solution of “soaking ourselves in salty water to fight the virulent Ebola virus.”

The former vice-president also lamented the fact that “highly qualified and experienced medical professionals who were trained at public expense but chose to practice abroad.”

Atiku said there should be creative solutions to deal with this situation of investing heavily in healthcare professionals who end up serving abroad.

He explained that in a federal system, states should introduce policies that would attract doctors to serve their needs.

The Turaki Adamawa said: “There is no justification for workers everywhere in the country to earn the same salaries.”

The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, advised Nigerians to shun politicians propagating and promoting campaign of calumny and character assassination against the APC to achieve their parochial and  sectional ambitions, even as he dismissed  mischief  makers who link the APC  with the outlawed Boko Haram sect.

Oyegun, a former governor of Edo State, said the APC was neither a Yoruba, Hausa nor Igbo party but a national vehicle comprising progressive minds who have the capacity to transform the country for the betterment of posterity.

“I want to assure you all that the APC is on the part of greatness and the 15 years of PDP misrule in the country will come to an end by February 2015 and this is a challenge to all of us,” he said.

The APC national  chairman assured  that the  party would tackle the nagging problem of corruption and  insurgency  if voted into power and deliver the citizens from the administrative ineptitude of the  PDP at the centre.

In his address as the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha,  raised the alarm that the nation’s health care sector now seem to have come to a  standstill as the three health-related millennium development goals of reductions in infant and maternal mortality rates, occurrence on HIV, malaria and  tuberculosis are yet to be met.

He warned that the nation cannot afford to take each problem area one after the other as that would be time consuming, even as he attributed the legions of problems confronting the nation’s health sector to the dearth in a preventive  system.

According to him, statistics have it that the nation’s heath sector stood at 187 out of 191 countries while the United Nations report on AIDS released in June 2013 seemed to insinuate that the nation was the  only country, clogging the wheels of the forward movement in the fight against the disease towards a global target of  reducing HIV infection  by 50 per cent by  the year 2015.

“As  progressives and a party advocating innovation, our gathering here today challenges us to examine the state of our country’s health sector with regard to harvesting perspective on preventive protective and innovation healthcare solutions; to examine the scourge of environmental, genetic linked ailments in Nigeria especially cancer, diabetes and malaria, then articulate preliminary national response strategies  to establish a basis for public cum stakeholder and confidence of progressive reforms in Nigeria’s health sector and to clearly identify minimum standards and policy directives for an appreciable level of improvement  and governance in public health management in APC states,” he said.

Okorocha explained that the forum was a reflection of the commitment of the APC states to the provision of the best health care services on the African continent,  promising that an APC -controlled  federal governance would ensure that Nigerians no longer need to travel abroad for health care “because the best and most effective healthcare facilities  would be built in the country.”

Proposing a vote of thanks, the governor of Kano State, Musa Kwankwaso, derided President Goodluck Jonathan for “not only being the commander of the Nigerian Army but the commander of the Nigerian Television Authority.”

He added that the president had failed in the direction for not containing the Boko Haram insurgency and promised that by 2015, the APC would kick the PDP government out at the federal level.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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