Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has warned of the outbreak of another pandemic if Nigeria fails to take advantage of opportunities presented by the COVID-19 crisis to develop its health infrastructure.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, gave the warning Monday in Abuja while inaugurating the Board of Experts (BoE) of the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS).
According to Mustapha, should the country fail to seize the moment to fix its healthcare infrastructure, it will find itself starting all over again if confronted with another pandemic.
‘If we had built on the experiences of Ebola and other epidemics that we have dealt with in the past, probably today we wouldn’t have started with about two molecular laboratories for the testing of COVID-19.
‘If you travel the shores of this country, you will find out that we have over 10,000 public primary healthcare centres scattered inwards and villages across the country, ill-equipped, ineffective and not being put into use but we keep building them,’ he said.
Mustapha urged members of the board to also look at governance structures in the healthcare sector apart from their primary responsibilities.
‘COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses in our health system, in our governance system, in our security infrastructure, in our inclusiveness and creating social safety nets for our people.
‘It will be the greatest disappointment of our time and of our generation if we do not seize the opportunity of the moment to redress all the deficiencies of the defects that we’ve had in our health and other infrastructure in this country,’ he said.