Buhari decries negative impact of strike on health sector
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern about the negative impact of strike on nation’s health sector.
He said that while agitations for better conditions of service by healthcare professionals are and will continue to be a necessary and legitimate expression, medical personnel should show greater understanding with government and work together towards solving the problems and tension in the health sector.
Buhari, while declaring open the 58th general conference and delegates meeting of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) yesterday in Abuja, represented by his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stated that the nation’s healthcare sector had been troubled for a long time and one of the manifestations is the low spending in health infrastructure, adding that “the budget for the health sector over the years never reflected Nigeria’s huge earnings in the period between 2010-2015.
He said: “The problem with the healthcare sector includes poor funding, the problems in the North-East and the threat of spread of diseases. The insurgency in the North-East brought the already troubled health sector to its knees.”
Buhari said that the implementation of the basic healthcare provision fund would commence soon in three pilot states of Abia, Niger and Osun states with plans to scale it up by 2019.
Meanwhile, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has said that the time has come to advance the Nigerian healthcare system beyond partisan politics and called for economic, social and development plans that would help reverse the health tourism being witnessed in the country.
Also, Senate President Bukola Saraki said that as soon as the 2018 Appropriation Bill is signed into law, the one per cent basic healthcare provision fund would take effect.
He said the bill would be passed into law in the next few days.
Gowon, who also spoke at the event, said quality healthcare delivery is an indispensible component of development of any nation and should be used to assess the performance of government at all levels.
He stated that Nigeria should not rely on foreign donor-agencies to fund its health sector, adding that Nigeria needs to re-prioritise her needs and use what we have to achieve our goals.
The former head of state said it is strategic for NMA to awaken the political actors to the urgent need of making healthcare delivery a dominant issue in the wake of the 2019 general elections.
According to him, health deserves all the attention to address all the poor indices hampering Nigeria’s development.
Gowon, who urged the National Assembly to put health matters on top of their legislative priorities and ensure adequate budgetary provision for the sector, also appealed to government at all levels to put health matters among the top of all budgetary considerations and ensure timely release of funds and implementation.
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