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Tomori to politicians: Poor healthcare system, major cause of deplorable socio-economic condition

The Chairman, BIOVACCINES Nigeria limited (BVNL), Prof. Oyewale Tomori, says all Nigerian political parties must recognise that poor quality of health is a major contributor to the country’s poor and deplorable socio-economic status.

Prof. Oyewale Tomori

The Chairman, BIOVACCINES Nigeria limited (BVNL), Prof. Oyewale Tomori, says all Nigerian political parties must recognise that poor quality of health is a major contributor to the country’s poor and deplorable socio-economic status.

Tomori, who is also a professor of Virologist, told the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, that the improvement of the health and well being of Nigerians must be number one on the priority list of each party.

According to him, “now is the time to get the issue of public health into the limelight of political campaigns and discussions. COVID-19 has taught us that the neglect of the health of the people is the foundation for the destruction of our nation’s economy.

He said “It appears that our political class and especially the multi-million naira application form-purchasing presidential aspirants have forgotten so soon that COVID-19 dragged Nigeria into recession very rapidly.

“It is very important to remind them of some of the health statistics of the nation they are scrambling and spending so much to govern.

“Although registration of births and deaths is still a major problem in Nigeria, it is obvious that our birth rate surpasses the death rate leading to increasing population, majority of which live below the poverty line, under the poor quality of health,” he explained.

Tomori said that Nigerian presidential aspirants must be made aware of the need to considerably and rapidly reduce maternal and infant mortality, and improve the quality of adolescent living to improve the country’s life expectancy, currently at 55 years, compared to countries where life expectancy is 70 years even with their poor economic posture.

However, he said, those countries could have better governance structures.

He said: “Nigeria is still ravaged by many diseases, such as Cholera, Typhoid, Malaria, Tuberculosis Leprosy, and yellow fever,” indicating that “a few of these diseases are vaccine-preventable.”

The expert said, according to available statistics, a child dies from Malaria every two minutes, and every four hours, nine people die from Malaria, and every year, 300,000 people die from Malaria in Nigeria.

“According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Malaria deaths account for 11 per cent of the maternal mortality rate in the country, and the most irritating part of the news is that most of these cases could have been avoided with improved access to quality primary healthcare service, proper hygiene, and sensitization, which are not the top priority of our politicians.

“Those who aspire to lead us must not only be aware of these deplorable data but must also tell us what they will do to improve the situation.

“To start with, they must address the perennial poor budgetary allocation to health and show resourcefulness in seeking additional and alternative sources of funds to improve health care services in our country.

“So whilst the public debate and fractious political campaigns will likely be dominated by constitutional and zoning issues, the hope is that there will be some productive and fruitful discussions about improving our healthcare system.

“We must build a consensus around ensuring health security of Nigerians,” he said.