Reps urge FG to declare state of emergency in health sector

The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the health sector and increase its budgetary allocation for 2024. The lawmakers made this appeal on Thursday, October 14, 2023, following a motion moved by Rep. Fayinka Oluwatoyin (APC-Lagos) during plenary.

The motion, titled “Need for the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) to collaborate with relevant health agencies in states and local governments to ensure the functionality of primary healthcare centres,”, highlighted the poor state of health facilities in the country, especially at the grassroots level.

According to Oluwatoyin, who represents Mushin Federal Constituency II of Lagos State, Nigeria has about 39,983 hospitals and clinics as of 2020, with the primary healthcare centres accounting for about 34,000, which is 86 percent. However, he said that only 20 percent of these primary healthcare centres are functional, particularly in rural areas lacking adequate facilities and staffing.

He said the lack of medical equipment, drugs, qualified personnel, electrical systems, beds, and road networks had increased the death toll in healthcare centres. This, according to him, necessitated revitalization with a budget of US$80 million for additional bed spaces.

He also said that the Federal and State Health Ministries’ inaccurate representation of primary healthcare centres hindered proper budgeting and access to quality healthcare in rural areas. This, according to him, often leads to premature deaths.

The House, in its resolution, urged the Federal Ministry of Health to encourage states to resuscitate the comatose primary healthcare programmes at the grassroots level. It also urged the ministry to provide qualitative and affordable medicine for the masses.

The House further urged the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with state ministries, LGAs, and other stakeholders, to establish a task force to eradicate sharp medical malpractice. This, he said, should particularly be in rural areas and furnish the Committee on Healthcare Services with the summary reports for evaluating the standard of the primary healthcare centres from 2016 to 2022.

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