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CSN decries government’s neglect of hospitals donated as isolation centres

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• Urges adequate funding of health sector
• Seeks grant for Catholic hospitals

Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) has lamented government’s neglect of 425 hospitals and clinics offered it by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) for use as isolation centres in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

At an event to commemorate 2021 World Day of the Sick in Abuja, CSN’s Director (Church and Society), Rev. Fr. Uchechukwu Obodoechina, said government never recognised the great sacrifice made by the church and never showed any gratitude in that regard.

“During the intense period of COVID-19, the church in Nigeria, through the bishops’ conference, donated to the government of this country 425 health facilities for use to reach the grassroots. The government, in its ineptitude, never appreciated this great sacrifice made by the church, never used one, yet the church continued in her little way to show solace and assistance to the poor at her disposal in the rural areas and wherever they find themselves,” Obodoechina said.

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He, however, noted that the church is doing extremely well in the various facilities, urging government to give subvention to the religious institution.

“What we have been doing are not enough. The church does not have the resources at her disposal to give a hundred per cent healthcare services to everyone in rural areas. The government of the country should give subvention to the church to expand its facilities and equip them to give full health care services to everyone in rural areas, because at the end of the day, the services are to Nigerians,” the CSN’s director argued.

During a visit to Sisters of Nativity Hospital in Jikwoyi, a suburb of Abuja, as part of activities to commemorate World Day of the Sick, Rev. Fr Ukeme-Abasi Bassey of Office of the Secretary General, decried the poor state of health facilities in the country.

According to Bassey, there were many cases where people ought to survive certain sicknesses, but they died due to lack of equipment in the hospitals.

“It is better to be proactive than to be reactive. COVID-19 has done huge damage to the global health care system. The government, church and other stakeholders in the health sector should map out plans to ensure that things are done properly. Patients who would have survived their sicknesses died because there was no oxygen. We should see it as a sacred task that has to do with life. The funds meant for development of the health care system should be released on time and appropriately utilised. It is not time to syphon money meant for medical care. We need to ensure good working environment for health workers to encourage them to do their work with devotion, love and passion.”

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