Frontline Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant for the 2023 election, Mr Peter Obi, has described as deplorable, the current state of Nigeria’s health sector, saying that the neglect, by the government, of such a critical sector, has continued to stagnate the nation’s development.
Obi made the remarks in his message to mark the World Health Day 2022. He regretted that only about 40% of Nigerians have access to primary health care. He explained that the federal government has continued to betray the health sector through inadequate budgetary allocations to the sector.
“A sectoral breakdown of the 2022 budget indicates that N724 billion (4.2 per cent) was allocated for healthcare in a country of over 200 million people. This miniscule allocation to the health sector gravely falls short of the Abuja Declaration commitment which requires the nation to ensure that 15 per cent of its annual budgetary allocation goes to health. This underscores the little value placed on human lives in the country,” Obi said.
The former Anambra State Governor decried the mass migration of Nigeria’s trained health workers which leaves the country in a great shortage of health workers. He associated the trend to poor conditions of work and little prospects for growth in the health sector.
“The President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Professor Innocent Ujah, recently reported that Nigeria has lost over 9,000 medical doctors to the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America between 2016 and 2018, leaving the country with only 4.7% of specialists to take care of Nigerians’ health issues.
“It is estimated that 2000 medical doctors leave Nigeria for other countries, annually. Presently in Nigeria, the doctor to patient ratio is 1:5000, as against the 600 persons recommended by World Health Organisation. The large vacuum created in the health sector by the brain drain, therefore, remains worrisome,” Obi lamented.