Minister: FG Improving Health Sector to Reduce Medical Tourism

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has declared that the huge investment being made by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the health sector is meant to improve healthcare delivery and checkmate medical tourism by Nigerians.

Ehanire said the government is specifically investing in the Nigerian Laboratory system to prepare it for both emergency and routine diagnosis of diseases as obtainable in advanced nations.

He spoke yesterday in Ado Ekiti at the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) annual scientific conference and workshop held in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

Ehanire, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Professor Adekunle Ajayi, said the investment  manifested through government’s funding for the building of molecular laboratories in all the federal tertiary hospitals across the nation.

The minister added that the federal government has also made huge investment in Integrated Specimen Referral Network, Integrated Laboratory Information Management System and in the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, for the actualisation of Universal health coverage for Nigerians.

He said: “The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is being invigorated to be able to deliver on its mandate. The federal Ministry of Health is fast tracking the journey to universal health coverage through strengthening the building blocks of our health system.

“We are building capacity for health workers, improving facilities and removing barriers and increasing access to qaulity healthcare. We are deploying technology to drive diagnosis producing data and evidence for improved clinical decisions.

“It is important to state that the implementation of the National Health Act is on course and provision for the Basic Healthcare Provision fund in health sector will improve services within the PHC system here in Nigeria. This is targeting the rural areas, poor and the vulnerable to ease access to treatment here in Nigeria,” he said.

The National President of the Association, Prof. James Garba Damen, added further that the kernel of the conference is to brainstorm on how to improve research and other steps that can boost healthcare system in Nigeria.

He said many of the researches undertaken by practitioners had helped in stemming the spread of diseases and improves life expectancy of Nigerians, which he described as low and unacceptable.

“Our association is in support of the amendment of the University Teaching Hospital (Reconstruction of Boards Act Cap U15 LFN 2004 Amendment Bill 2021. This amendment when passed into law will end professional rivalries and strengthen the ailing health sector in Nigeria.

“We call on the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of National Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science Bill before it to give more recognition, motivation and competence to professionals in our field,” he said.

Damen urged his members to always subject themselves to proper professional scrutiny through prompt registration of membership, saying any expert who failed to register would not practice in Nigeria to curtail quackery.

Addressing the gathering, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that his administration has been playing critical role to boost facilities and personnel in hospitals for improved healthcare delivery since 2018.

Fayemi, who was represented by the Head of Service, Mr. Dele Agbede, said: “My administration built 300-bedded isolation centre and molecular laboratory during the Coronavirus period in Ekiti. We are also implementing policies that are pro-workers, especially implementing financial benefits to them for motivation.

“Time has come for all hands to continue to be on the deck to improve healthcare system through renovation and reconstruction of medical facilities, provision of equipment and adequate staffing that can deliver quality healthcare to our people at all levels.”

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