The House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services has called on governments at all levels and the private sector to make more investment toward improving healthcare delivery in the country.
Rep. Mohammed Usman, the Deputy Chairman of the committee, made the appeal on Saturday during a visit to some health facilities in Kaduna State.
He expressed disappointment over the deplorable state of the facilities, saying governments at all levels have failed in delivering quality healthcare services to the people
The lawmaker visited two Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) at Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna South Local Government Area, and Zangon Aya, Igabi Local Government Area, all in Kaduna State.
Usman led a delegation of various committees of the House of Representatives, including those of Finance, Appropriation, Health Institutions, SDGs and HIV/AIDS.
They were in Kaduna for a One-day Regional Policy Dialogue on Revitalisation of Health Care in Nigeria, organised by House of Representatives Committee on Health in conjunction with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
“We are not happy with what we have seen, not only in Kaduna State but across the country. The health facilities are in deplorable state, inadequate manpower and equipment needed for quality service delivery.
“I want to categorically say that as a government we have failed in meeting our responsibility of delivering quality healthcare services in the country,” Usman said.
He also said that the current administration inherited over 30,000 PHCs across the country in a deplorable state and as such, non-functional.
He added that as a policy, the National Assembly in collaboration with the Federal Executive, State and Local Governments agreed to rehabilitate, rebuild and equip 10,000 out of the over 30,000 within four years.
“I am not sure we have been able to rehabilitate and equip up to 2,000 out of the targeted 10,000 within the four-year period, with less than one year to go.
“Our manpower situation is one doctor to 600 patients and reports indicate that more than 3,000 people die every day in the country, and Nigeria has the highest number of premature deaths in the world,” he lamented.
Usman identified poor funding as the major challenge of the health sector, adding that in the past 15 years budget to the health sector was below six per cent of the national budget.
“This is far below the 2001 Abuja Declaration which recommended the allocation of 15 per cent of the national budget to the health sector.
“The National Assembly has been able to actualise the provision of the one per cent Basic Healthcare Provision Fund in the 2018 budget, about N55.1 billion, but it is not enough.
“No wonder President Muhammadu Buhari had to go on medical tourism. This would not have happened if our healthcare systems are well equipped and functional,” he added.
He said that until funding to the sector improve at all levels of government, the country would continue to record negative health indices, and huge number of women and children would continue to die.
Usman added that: “Part of our advocacy in the National assembly is to raise allocation to the health sector to at least 7.5 per cent in 2019 budget.’’
During the policy dialogue, Dr Muhammad Saleh, a Health Consultant to CISLAC, said that the health of population was vital to the development of any nation.
Saleh said in a paper titled: “Financing for Primary Healthcare: Ensuring Implementation Compliance Through Targeted Legislative Oversight”, that no nation would have a healthy population without adequate funding of the health sector, particularly the PHCs.
CISLAC Executive Director Auwal Musa explained that the dialogue was organised to brainstorm and ensure appropriate legislative decisions and policy directions in revitalising PHC.
Musa, who was represented by CISLAC Board Member, Hajiya Hadiza Kangiwa, noted that as the condition of PHC worsens, financial and political commitments were lacking.
He stressed that only through serious engagement with policy and legislative bodies that funding for PHC and other health components that impact on women and children can be improved.