From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN), National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS), Nigerian Youth Union (NYU), and other students’ unions and youth groups have threatened to shut down Nigeria in the next 14 days if the Federal Government fails to improve the state of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in the country.
The groups said the resolution for the protest, which was taken at its meeting in Abuja, was to reawaken the consciousness of the Federal Government to the health care needs of citizens and also register discontent with the politics behind the planned procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
NYCN President, Solomon Adodo, who read the communique of the meeting in Abuja, yesterday, said the youths were seriously concerned about the state of the PHCs in the country, which had led to loss of hundreds of lives, not because of incurable diseases, but as a result of poorly functional healthcare system, especially for those in rural areas.
He said their findings revealed that majority of local government areas (LGAs) in the country do not have functional PHCs, thus leaving millions of Nigerians in rural communities vulnerable to diseases, with attendant high maternal and infant mortality rates.
The youths called on Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), the umbrella body of LGAs in Nigeria, to compel its members to revamp existing healthcare systems in the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.
“We are disenchanted by records indicating that Federal Government made provisions for modern PHCs to be built across the 774 LGAs through public-private partnership contrary to the sordid episode being played out where basic health facilities are lacking in most of the local government areas.
We are equally saddened by the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) who rather than prioritising healthcare system, are resisting the noble efforts to build primary health care centres in most of the states. We, additionally, demand the immediate establishment of a new healthcare system that will ensure that basic healthcare facilities are built in areas of deficiencies in the 774 LGAs in line with the master-plan of the public-private partnership.
It should be made emphatically clear that the Nigerian youths and students leaders shall mobilise members and Nigerians for a national protest after 14 days if no proactive action is taken to guarantee a better, accessible, and quality healthcare system for the greater percentage of Nigerians who are resident in rural communities.”