Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has demanded affordable, accessible and quality health care for all Nigerians irrespective of economic, social or political class.
This is coming against the backdrop of recent health challenge of the former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who was flown out of the country for proper healthcare through direct intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari.
CDHR had last week charged Buhari and the federal government on the â€œgross violation of the constitutional right to life of all Nigerians due to the poor state of health infrastructure in the country, which is responsible for the avoidable deaths of millions of citizens, especially the low and middle class, children, women and other vulnerable Nigerians.â€
The National Publicity Secretary, CDHR, Henry Peter Ekine, in a statement yesterday said the renewed call became imperative following the increasing cases of avoidable deaths by Nigerians, almost daily, due to the poor state of public health infrastructure across the country
Ekine made reference to the case of one Mr. Christopher Ojika who died of gunshot injuries following an attack by armed robbers in Port Harcourt, 11 hours after the attack, as a result of the failure of the health institutions, including the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, to provide prompt and quality care due to poor or outright lack of necessary facilities needed to save the life of the young man.
He stated: â€œTwo other health institutions visited earlier, including the Military Hospital, Port Harcourt, could not give the needed care mainly due to lack of facilities.
â€œCDHR restated that the concept of right to life relates to the provision of functional health institutions and efficient and accessible health care system; hence the connection between the provisions of section 17 (3) (c) particularly (d) and section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.â€
To this end, he called on Buhari to immediately direct its policy towards the protection of the health, safety and welfare of all citizens and the actualisation of the objectives of adequate medical and health facilities for all persons.
Ekine however â€œcondemned the disposition of the president and the federal government in neglecting the nationâ€™s health institutions and infrastructure in preference for foreign medical trips, especially by the political class.â€
He also â€œcalled for immediate comprehensive overhaul of the health sector infrastructure and the enabling legal frameworks or considers a comprehensive policy of inclusion of all Nigerians in a national programme that will provide opportunity for all citizens to be entitled to prompt and quality health care or medical treatment abroad.
In our body of laws, the remuneration of former presidents and Heads of State (and other Ancillary Matters) Act, particularly Item 5, Part I and Item 5, Part II of the Schedule thereof, provides for state funded quality medical care, within Nigeria and abroad at the expense of the federal government, for all former presidents and former vice presidents and members of their families.
â€œThus, the president has recently approved for Ekweme to be taken abroad for quality medical care, a kind and commendable gesture.â€