By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Alarmed by the decay of infrastructure in public healthcare institutions in the country, the Senate yesterday urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the public health sector.
Specifically, the upper legislative chamber charged the executive to provide special funding in the 2018 national budget for the overhaul of at least, one government-owned medical facility in each of the six geo-political zones of the country every year.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion, entitled: “Urgent need for the declaration of emergency in the public health care sector over decay of infrastructure”, sponsored by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC Kaduna North) during plenary in Abuja.
Leading debate on the motion, Senator Hunkuyi noted that the infrastructure decay in public health institutions was caused by “epileptic power and inadequate water supply resulting in unhygienic conditions which further increases the risk of hospital acquired and transmitted infections”.
He further observed that critical diagnostic equipment such as MRI, CT scan and ultrasound, among others essential for providing efficient diagnosis were non-functional or not available in most of the institutions.
Senator Hunkuyi also lamented “lack of life-saving medicaments and drugs which are inadequate and in most cases unavailable to dispense to the patents, who throng these facilities in search of treatment for their various conditions”.
He said: “The sorry situation in our public health institutions has resulted in increased medical tourism by Nigerians, with the attendant outflow of hard earned foreign currency to the tune of several millions of dollars spent on medical care annually in Europe, America, Asia and even some African countries to the detriment of our health institutions.
“This sorry state of affairs has rendered our hospitals and other healthcare facilities ineffective resulting in dire consequences for the citizenry”.
The lawmaker recalled that the UNICEF had recently in its latest statistics on child mortality ranked Nigeria second highest in the world with losses of about 2, 300 under-five year olds and 145 women of child bearing age daily.
In his contribution, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North) called for the establishment of the one government-owned medical facility in each of the six geo-political zones to address the primary healthcare deficit in the country.
This, he added could be achieved through special efforts of the National Assembly with a view to reducing different sicknesses among Nigerians.