Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 22 May 2019 | 962 times
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, has said that teaching hospitals in Nigeria cannot survive alone and in isolation, and stating that there is an urgent need to develop the foundation, particularly the Primary Health Centres.
According to him, “The problem we have is that the foundation is bad and the wall is weak and we are only concerned about the roof.”
He noted that there have been challenges over the last couple of years as he described the health care as a pyramid with Primary Health Care at the base, Secondary at middle and Tertiary at the top.
In his illustration, he maintained that: “We can compare it to a building; primary health as the foundation, the secondary as the wall and the tertiary as the roof. The problem we have is that the foundation is bad and the wall is weak and we are only concerned about the roof.”
In his words, “If we invest in the Primary Health Care, a lot of people would not have a cause to go to the tertiary.”
The Minister spoke on Tuesday while briefing the Senate on the current state of facilities and health care service in the teaching hospitals.
He further said: “We have 22 teaching hospitals in the country and 17 specialist hospitals under the direct body of the Federal Government. The teaching hospitals constitute the apex of health care in any country.
“For us in Nigeria, they represent the topmost and by design are expected to manage complex and complicated cases.
“Only 10 percent of Nigerians who require care would need to go to tertiary institutions.”
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had earlier lamented the state of the health sector in the country, saying: “Despite the annual budgetary allocation to the health sector, Nigerians are still dying because of obsolete equipment, the poor state of infrastructure, lack of a generating sets, lack of power, sometimes lack of diesel, lack of drugs, etc, which we are very concerned about.”
While urging the Senate to look into the challenge of power supply, Prof. Adewole commended the Upper Chamber for the approval of the one percent Primary Health Care inclusive in the budget.
“Your Excellency, I must commend you for approving the Basic Health Care Provision Fund. It is a game changer,” he said.
Saraki reacted immediately, saying: “You are using the word Game changer. I think the game changer is the 469 members of this National Assembly who, in 2018, single-handedly ensured the funding of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
“If you go by the media reports, they called it padding, but it was the intervention that provided those funds that will make a difference in the Healthcare industry today. I thank you for acknowledging that.”
Saraki however appreciated the both chambers, having worked hard to ensure that the money was provided. “I cannot agree with you any less that this is what will ensure that Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare improves,” he stated.
The Senate President, in conclusion, charged the Minister on effective management of fund earmarked for the sector.
He said: “I think the responsibility on your part is how the fund will be managed. Athough it took a long time, it is important to get it right to put the right structure in place that will ensure that the fund is properly spent. That responsibility continues to lie with the Ministry of Health to see that those funds are well managed at all levels because that is the key to ensure the success of Healthcare.”
Speaking on the development, the Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, thanked the Minister for the presentation and urged him to find a better way to talk to Governors to key into and access the funds for primary Healthcare.
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