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NASS pledges its support in reshaping healthcare in Nigeria.

N’Assembly to Push for Declaration of Emergency in Health Sector

As part of moves to reposition and meet the needs of Nigerians, the National Assembly is set to push for the declaration of emergency in the health sector.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health, Amos Magaji, made this known at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Ekiti State on Wednesday when members of the committees on oversight function of health facilities in the Southwest visited the medical facility.

According to him, resolving the problems plaguing Nigeria’s health sector requires a multi-pronged approach and promised that it would soon bounce back when the necessary things are done.

The Chief Medical Director of FETHI, Prof Adekunle Ajayi, while leading the legislators on inspection of facilities and projects in the hospital, listed the challenges faced by the health institution to include huge power costs, inadequate water supply, poor access roads, ecological challenges, uncertain manpower planning and need to upgrade the medical facility.

Among the facilities inspected by the House Committee members are the Isolation Ward; the new Histopathology building; the new Accident and Emergency Ward, the Assisted Reproductive Technology building, the 150-bedded building, the Molecular Laboratory and the Physiotherapy Building.

The lawmaker said that the yearly budgetary provision for Health by the Federal Government was small and grossly inadequate to run the hospitals effectively and efficiently and that it cannot serve the hospitals and patients in the country given its population.

Mogagi said, “The National Assembly, going forward, will be pushing for a state of emergency to be declared on Health because where we are now as a nation, it is not possible that health will be funded by the budget.

“We have gone around many health institutions and the problems are the same, lack of equipment, the manpower is a problem, equipment is a problem, the infrastructure in health institutions is also massively inadequate and of course very critical, the issue of power is killing the health institutions,” he said.

As part of efforts to resolve issues in the sector, the legislator said that the committee would invite the national leadership of all health unions to a meeting and all relevant MDAs over the issue of non-payment of some of the arrears, bonuses, and salaries of some health workers.

He said, “This is not the time for health workers to work without receiving their payment. Then the issue of one-on-one replacement, we are looking at it. Immediately we get back to Abuja, we will call on all the relevant agencies to discuss how to remove all the bottlenecks in employment or replacement in the healthcare sector.

“We are also looking at how to expand the quotas in medical admission in universities. One of the solutions is the enrolment of students in medical colleges, making the study of medicine attractive in Nigeria. If we have many young people studying Medicine, even if there is Japa, we will still have enough people to practice medicine in Nigeria.”

He, however, lauded FETHI management for utilizing the available space and the huge expansion, saying, “We are impressed with what they have done with the resources that the Federal Government has given them.”