By Chuks Okocha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Sunday described President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment against oversea’s medical treatment as self-indicting, adding that it raises public apprehensions on high-level deceits in Buhari’s government.
PDP in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described as ridiculous, a situation where a President, who patronizes foreign hospitals for treatment and even check-ups; whose administration has failed to provide adequate healthcare in his country, could turn around to pontificate to other citizens against foreign treatment.
It said, while the PDP did not approve of proliferated foreign medical tourism, especially by leaders and public office holders, the party holds that a leader who has failed to lead by example and whose government has neglected and wrecked the healthcare systems, lacks all rectitude to issue directives against foreign treatment.
Consequently, the PDP urged President Buhari to show example by patronizing a Nigerian public hospital on his next medical appointment so that he can experience the healthcare reality that Nigerians have been subjected to under his government.
According to PDP, “Mr President can then discover that our health system has suffered untold neglect under his watch, leading to dilapidated infrastructure, empty drug shelves, decrepit and worn-out equipment, brain drain and a demoralized workforce worse than his 1983 recollections.
“It is even more disheartening that all the investments and robust programmes of successive PDP administration, including the comprehensive National Strategic Health Development Plan, Saving One Million Lives Initiatives, National Health Insurance Scheme, among others, have been degraded and impaired by the dysfunctional APC administration”, it said.
The main opposition party urged Nigerians to recall that under the PDP administration, new technologies and modern medical equipment were available in most federal medical institutions where cases such as cancer, kidney, heart and brain ailments for which Nigerians are now mostly seeking overseas treatment were effectively handled in the country.
PDP further said, “Our health care would have continued to flourish but for the disruption of PDP’s people-based healthcare programs by the Buhari-led APC administration.
“The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has now become the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of the corrupt cabal in the Buhari Presidency, which has not been able to account for the looting of billions of naira saved for healthcare needs of Nigerians”, the party said.
Accordingly, it said that under the PDP administration, the dreaded Ebola outbreak was managed without grave consequences, adding that “if such medical emergency, God forbid, breaks out today, it would be devastating to our nation given the poor handling of our healthcare system by the APC administration”.
PDP accused the APC administration of neglecing the national health needs of Nigerians, stating that if it was reflected in successive budgetary allocations under President Buhari that there would have been no need for medical tourism
It said, “Even in the 2020 budget, only N427.3bn (4.5% of the budget) is provided for the health need of over 186 million Nigerians. Indeed, this is not the way to go”.
The PDP therefore charged President Buhari to end his rhetoric by taking concrete steps to improve on the nation’s healthcare system so that Nigerians can have access to adequate and affordable healthcare at all levels.