…..As FG, Babangida Aliyu, other Stakeholders back establishment of Niger Varsity
By Christiana Ekpa
A member of the House of Representatives, Saidu Musa Abdullahi, Representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha federal constituency I, has decried the
dearth of medical doctors in Niger State, even as he lamented the population ratio of one doctor to 9,000.
This was just as the House of Representatives, the Former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana and Senator Abdulahi Sabi and other critical stakeholders, expressed support for the establishment of the proposed University of Medicine and Health Sciences at Bida.
The decision of the stakeholders was as the result of a public hearing organized by the House committee on health institutions in Abuja on the bill for an act to establish the university and four other bills.
Presenting the bill, the sponsor and vice chairman of the House committee on finance, Hon. Saidu Musa Abdullahi (APC, Niger) lamented that Niger is the only state in the North-Central that has no degree awarding institution in medicine and health sciences.
He said this was unacceptable considering the strategic importance of Niger state in the scheme of events in the country.
“Aside being the largest state in the country with 76,363 Square Kilometres, accounting for about 10 percent of the nation’s total land mass, Niger state is home to Nigeria’s major hydroelectric power stations, the Kainji Dam, Shiroro Dam, and Jebba Dam as well as the Zungeru Dam, which is currently under construction.
He said “The overall objective of this bill is to secure a national mandate to teach and train high calibre health-care professionals, provide healthcare services and to operate various schools and specialties that offer exemplary training and quality research in health care.
“Once the university comes on stream, it will provide more opportunities and fair chance for Nigerians seeking to pursue careers in the medical sciences and most importantly address medical workforce shortfall in the country”
He informed that “At the moment there are 1,335 health facilities in Niger state, out of which two are tertiary health facilities, 21 secondary health facilities and 1,322 (99%) are PHC facilities. 1,095 (83%) of these PHC facilities are publicly owned while the remaining 227 (17%) are privately owned”.
Niger state has the highest under 5 mortality in the north central geo-political zone of Nigeria and above the national average of 128 deaths per 1000 live births.
Conversely, Niger state has one of the highest numbers of under 5 years children with fever, seeking medical attention from health facilities or healthcare providers (73.2%), above north central average of 71.8%.
In his presentation, the minister for health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire supported the bill but said the nation has to develop the entire healthcare chain.
He said there should be at least one primary healthcare in every council ward and one general hospital in every local government adding that the priority of the federal government was to build primary and secondary healthcare centers and rebuild tertiary health institutions for optimal performance.