Lawmakers call for state of emergency on health

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

primary healthcare center in the grassroot.

The House of Representatives has urged the Nigerian Government to declare State of Emergency on the primary healthcare sector in the country.

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health Services, Mr. Chike Okafor made the appeal in Abuja at a public hearing on financing healthcare and revitalization of primarily healthcare system in Nigeria.

Mr. Okafor described the state of primary health care at the grassroots as disheartening.

“Currently, there are 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) with 9,572 political wards in Nigeria.  At least, each of the LGAs has one primary healthcare Centre (PHC) that is not functional.

Most of these PHC centres lack drug supplies, basic health infrastructure and cannot boast of good number of medical personnel.

In fact, patients accessing these PHC centres can hardly afford the cost of transportation or cost of subsidised drugs due to the economic hardship of most rural dwellers.’’ the lawmaker said.

He pointed out that the effects of these are enormous on the human resource of the country.

According to him, in 2015 alone, malaria killed 192,284 people in the country, diarrhoea killed 143,688, neonatal and maternal disorders killed 212,557 women and children.

“In other words, for everyone killed by terrorists, 36 Nigerians are killed by mosquitoes, 27 are killed by dirty water and 40 women and children died during pregnancy and childbirth.’’ Okafor said.

On his part, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole called for collaboration among stakeholders to reposition healthcare service delivery in the country.

He said that the government, in partnership with individuals and corporate organizations must restructure primary healthcare at the grassroots.

The Minister regretted the huge pressure on secondary and tertiary health institutions in the country because of defective or near non-existent PHC system at the grassroots.

He said the ministry was committed to taking steps to address the decay by setting up a committee chaired by the Minister of Finance to look into the reactivation of PHC centres in the country.

According to him, efforts to reposition PHC in Nigeria would be fruitless if appropriated budgets were not released or cash-backed as and when due.

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