From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to travel to the United Kingdom for a routine medical check-up is upsetting says the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity).
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje in a statement he signed on behalf of the organisation entitled: “President Buhari’s Foreign Medical Trip: Symptom of a National Malady” said as President of Nigeria, “it is both unethical and embarrassing that the President would so publicly signal a vote of no confidence in the healthcare system of the country he presides over.”
Owoaje who pointed out that millions of Nigerians are left to the “weak and inefficient healthcare system that their President so visibly disdains” laments the timing of the trip when the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are on industrial action for the failure of the Federal Government to implement agreements it signed with the union
According to him successive administrations in the country had contributed to the parlous state of the health sector in the country , but expectations by Nigerians that Buhari would revamp the health sector in line with his campaign promises have been dashed.
Owoaje challenged Buhari to use the remaining years of his tenure to work towards ensuring that he bequeaths an efficient healthcare system to Nigerians.
The statement read in part: “Response to the Covid-19 global pandemic further revealed how dismal the public healthcare system in Nigeria is, however it has offered a unique opportunity for governments around the world to develop a robust, efficient and responsive healthcare system and Nigeria should not be an exception. We therefore urge President Buhari as he gets the swift medical attention he cannot obtain in Nigeria in the UK, to reflect on the legacies he intends to bequeath to Nigerians in the health sector.
“He should as a matter of priority put efforts in motion leading the charge and galvanising state governments across the country to ensure the upgrading of public healthcare facilities in the country in line with global best practices. His administration should summon the required will and mobilise the needed funds to address the structural problems in Nigeria’s healthcare ecosystem. These include the conducive working environment, improved infrastructure, tools, eliminating the on-going brain drain, improving the welfare of medical and healthcare workers in the country as well as strengthening the organic link between primary, secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare.
“President Buhari’s preoccupation, as he enters the sixth year out of his eight-year tenure, should be how to develop Nigeria’s healthcare system such that no President after him would need to travel out of the country for a routine medical check-up. Nigerians want a leader who would inspire confidence in the country’s health facilities. President Buhari should strive to be such a leader if he cares about the verdict of history.”