Francis Sardauna in Katsina
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday said his administration in 2015 expended a whooping sum of N259 billion on provision of health and humanitarian services to Nigerians in order to eradicate what he termed as wide-range of diseases and persistence health challenges in the country.
The President added that the Federal Government had in 2018 released another batch of N340 billion to tackle health related challenges facing Nigerians, especially those living in the rural areas.
Buhari, who was speaking in Katsina during the commissioning of Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital (NAFRH) in Daura, said Federal Government had in the last four years spent huge amount of money to revamp the health sector across the nation.
According to him, “As you are all aware, the Federal Government has in the last four years invested so much resource in the health sector. To this end, the Federal Government has increased budgetary allocation to the health sector from N259 billion in 2015 to over N340 billion in 2018.
“Accordingly, significant strides have been made to improve life expectancy and reduce some of the killers associated with child and maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by the Year 2030, as enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
The President explained that despite numerous achievements recorded by his administration, more efforts were needed to fully eradicate “a wide-range of diseases, persistence and emergency health issues in our society.”
“To achieve this, all hands must be on deck to focus on providing more efficient funding of the health sector, improved sanitation and hygiene, and increased access to medical care in order to save the lives of millions of Nigerians. It therefore suffices to state that there is no auspicious time to commission this Reference Hospital than now,” the President said.
Buhari reafirmed that the NAF Hospital would complement and assist the federal and Katsina state governments in providing standard and affordable healthcare services to the citizenry.
While adding that the Reference Hospital would also supplement the existing secondary and tertiary health facilities in the country, Buhari said: “It would also serve as a centre for medical research where medical practitioners would collaborate to find solution to public health challenges in the country.”
“More importantly, the facility is poised to provide the much needed trauma care for personnel on active duty, especially those engaged in various theatres of operation. This will go a long way in boosting the morale of personnel as well as encourage them to give their best in the cause of service to our father land,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique, said the hospital is a 60-bed hospital with two ultramodern operating theaters and intensive care unit, medical laboratory, eye and dental clinic, amongst other departments.
He added the hospital was equipped with modern diagnostic life support and surgical equipment, which he said were paramount for the healthcare of critical injured persons such as soldiers wounded in the warfront.
“The NAFRH Daura is a 60-bed hospital with two ultra-modern operating theatres, an Intensive Care unit, medical laboratory, Eye and Dental clinics and a physiotherapy department.
“Other departments include: Special Care Baby Unit, Renal Dialysis, Ophthalmic, Dental, Maternity and Antenatal unit, Cancer Screening Centre, Accident and Emergency Unit, and a robust radiology department with complete digital X-ray, Mammogram, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Computerised Tomography scan machines.
“It is equipped with modern diagnostic, life support and surgical equipment intended to provide an ideal facility for the care of critically ill-patients such as soldiers wounded in action. In addition, this facility will be utilised for the training of our medical staff as a teaching hospital for the NAF School of Medical Science and Aviation Medicine,” Sadique said.
The Air Chief added that NAF has established some units in Nguroje in Taraba State; Agatu in Benue State; Doma in Nassarawa State; and Birni-Gwari in Kaduna State with their respective medical centres that would provide security and medical care to personnel and their families as well as the host communities.
He said: “Moreover, in line with the NAF tradition of providing succour to communities affected by terrorism, the Service established emergency hospitals for IDPs in Bama and Maiduguri, and upgraded the state clinic in Maikohi IDP Camp in Yola. Furthermore, the NAF has so far conducted medical outreach programmes across the country, which have provided medical care to over 323,000 IDPs.”
He expressed his determination to reposition the Nigerian Air Force into a highly professional and discipline service through the provision of tertiary healthcare facilities to personnel and their families.
Meanwhile, Buhari had also inaugurated Fago-Katsayal-Kawasarawa-Jirdede-Koza roads constructed by Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari.