By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) after reviewing the way and manner the COVID-19 outbreak has been managed with the prostate of the country’s health sector calls on the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency in the health sector.
In a statement by the Ipac chairman, Leonard Ezenwa, IPAC said the declaration should not be the usual verbal proclamation but it should be a sincere declaration that will be backed by the will and might of the Federal Government to address, once and for all, the shameful state of the Nigerian health sector.
“That a high ranking official of government, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustspha will come to terms that our health sector is decayed recently is indicative of depth of the sorry state of our health sector.
“Previous administrations had come to terms that our hospitals are mere consulting clinics long ago and did not do much. Ailments like headache leads public officials for medical treatment abroad.
“The capital flight that has accrued on account of medical tourism is mind boggling even when we have the best of doctors as can be attested by many of them that ply their practice in advanced countries and who were originally trained in Nigeria.
“IPAC believes that health is wealth and that every Nigerian has a right to enjoy the highest level of health services.
“We call on the Federal Government to take advantage of the window provided by COVID-19 to move swiftly to overhaul and rehabilitate the nation’s health facilities. Every subsector of the sector should be looked into.
“We should come to terms that we should recruit and retain the best medical professionals to service our hospitals and not to undervalue them.
“The ratio of a medical doctor to patients is one of the lowest across the globe. This is contrary to the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) of one doctor to 600 patients. Nigeria has a ratio of one doctor to 6000 patients.
“The current WHO performance rating places Nigeria 187th out of 191 nations. Healthcare financing in the country is appalling with the country budgeting allocation unable to exceed 20% mark. The National Assembly Act has to be reviewed to bring it up to speed with development across to what obtains from other climes.
“Government should as a matter of urgency channel the #37 billion National Assembly renovation funds to rehabilitate the health sector. It is shameful that government has to resort to getting Chinese medical doctors into Nigeria when we have better qualified medical doctors who would have undertaken what these Chinese doctor where brought in to do.
“The state of emergency in the health sector should not be treated with a kid’s glove like the power sector reform. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to fix the nation’s health sector as other nations are doubling up to take advantage of the lessons of COVID-19 pandemic to improve their health sector.
“We call on the Federal Government to increase the medical allocation to the health sector and originate concrete intervention to salvage the sector. The resuscitation and upgrading of medical facilities across the country should constitute the cornerstone of any policy the government tend to pursue in the rehabilitation of the sector.
“Significant part of the resources that were donated for Coronavirus should be directed to the rehabilitation of our medical facilities. COVID-19 pandemic has clearly showed that all policies that have been initiated by government in the health sector over the years seems not to have helped the development and growth of the sector.
“Recently, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was treated of Coronavirus infection in a UK public hospital. None of Nigerian leaders would dare use public hospitals instead they would travel abroad for treatment.
“COVID-19 has now compelled every Nigerian including public office holders to use the nation’s medical facilities as they cannot travel abroad. This is the time to fix the Nigerian medical facilities.”