Minister warns of upsurge in third COVID-19 wave
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said poor investment in healthcare infrastructure across board was a major impediment to effective healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
He pointed out that the ugly scenario was the brain driving medical tourism at a very high cost in the country.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day Bayelsa Health Summit in Yenagoa, Jonathan, who canvassed private sector investment to compliment government’s efforts, regretted that the nations Nigerians were travelling to for medicare depended largely on private sector-driven facilities.
He said this informed his signing of the National Health Bill but lamented, however, that the law had not been fully implemented by the current administration to improve healthcare service delivery in the country.
While commending the state government for organising the event, the ex-leader urged the Federal Government to stage a similar workshop to discuss the extant health law, as about 30 per cent of doctors in the country have little or no idea about the benefits of the piece of legislation assented to since 2014.
His words: “Many Nigerians travel abroad to seek medical attention. But if you go to the countries they travel to, you would discover that it is privately-owned hospitals that thrive in those countries. This was why I conceived the plan to build massive health facilities across the six geopolitical zones of the country while I was president.
“The plan was to bring back all Nigerian doctors from abroad. But to achieve this, we needed a law that would give the plan a solid foundation. As president, I signed many bills into law and three out of these bills still make me happy. They are the National Health Bill, FOI Bill and Local Content Bill.”
He continued: “Out of the three, the FOI and Local Content laws are doing well, but the impact of the National Health Law is yet to be felt by Nigerians. This is because 30 per cent of doctors in Nigeria know little or nothing about the law.”
In his remarks, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, warned Nigerians that the nation remained under threat of a third COVID-19 wave, urging frontline health workers and citizens to be watchful.
He said although the country recorded major success in its response too the virus, the minister quickly added that the news of the havoc the disease was wreaking on India, Thailand, Argentina and Brazil should be disturbing to Nigerians.