The Federal Government has been urged to declare a state of emergency in a bid to revitalize the health sector.
Chairman of the Lagos Medical Guild, Dr Babajide Saheed, today made the call while warning that the country may soon start importing doctors if this was not done.
Saheed made this known at a media briefing in Lagos while stating that 59 years after Nigeria’s independence, its health sector had deteriorated in healthcare delivery, resulting in medical tourism.
“In the past, people came from overseas to get medical treatment at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, but now the reverse is the case.
“Government is not pumping money into the health sector.
“The Abuja Declaration on 15 per cent funding for the health sector is yet to be fulfilled.
“Quality health service delivery, not corruption, should be the focus of government because once a country does not get it right with its health and education systems, it has failed.
“The way emergency was declared in the security situation of the country, the same should be done for the health sector so that we can chart a way forward,” he said.
Saheed noted the right step in the right direction is to have a functional Primary Healthcare (PHC) system in the country.
“We should follow it up with an effective secondary and tertiary care, the tertiary care will take care of medical tourism.
“Each region in the country should have hospitals for specialization – like pediatric, cardiology – and we will not need to move out of the country,” he said.
Saheed urged that all stakeholders should agree on collective and unified common agenda that would deliver efficient, affordable and accessible healthcare services in the country.
Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, Vice-Chairman of the guild, said that PHC system should not become redundant in the country.
According to him the funds stacked by the Federal Government for PHCs should be made more accessible, adding that local governments should make PHCs a priority, especially with their attainment of autonomy.
“We need to start scrutinizing the operations of the local governments to ensure they contribute their quotas to healthcare delivery in the country,” he said.