From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Abuja, FCT, was taken over by healthcare workers from different parts of the country as the Society for Health Professionals of Nigeria (SPHPN) celebrated its National President, Prof Michael Asuzu, as bowed out of active service at the age of 70.
The body is an umbrella association for public health-oriented organisations and individuals, formed in 2012 with the aim to provide a forum for the promotion of public health in Nigeria using the preventive, curative and rehabilitative approach.
Some members of the association who spoke with Daily Sun at the event described the celebrant as a selfless person, teacher of the teachers that have affected and still affecting many lives.
National Chairman of Public Health Association of Nigeria Salome Tor described Prof Asuzu as a dedicated and hard-working person who believes in giving out to humanity.
‘We are here to celebrate our leader who has pulled out of active service at the age of 70 from the University of Ibadan. We, the SPHPN Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja chapter felt we should honour him because of the enormous contributions he has put in public health,’ she said.
‘He has touched the lives of people, he is a multi-disciplinary figure who always preaches the issue of prevention, which is better than cure. He knows that strengthening of Primary Health Care is the only way through which we can achieve universal health coverage in Nigeria.
‘We are really going to miss him, but I want to plead with him to still make himself available to some of us who will still be relying on him for some directives.’
Deputy Provost, College of Health Science, University of Abuja, Prof Mustapha Abubakar, praised Prof Asuzu as a tireless teacher who does not discriminate.
‘Prof Asuzu has done so much for the public health sector. He has put on a lot of structures that will support health care in Nigeria, and this society is one of the structures. This is the first of its kind where we have the professionals in public health come together with one goal. He has linked the national society to regional, global bodies.’
Obioma Asuzu, Prof Asuzu’s daughter, called her father a disciplinarian who believes that anything can be done with determination.
The celebrant in his remarks said the major challenge of the country is the educational system, and that once it addressed, other sectors will follow suit.
He stated that most of the best experts in the world are Nigerians and that Nigeria should be made conducive for them to return and operate.
‘The educational system influences other sectors in the country. The state of the community and primary health care is responsible for a huge number of people rushing for national teaching hospitals. If primary health care is well managed, people will go there,’ Prof Asuzu remarked.
He urged Nigerians to seek ways to positively affect the lives of the people around them.