- Emeka Anyaoku says it is lamentable that Nigeria is categorized with war-torn countries lacking in healthcare facilities
- Anyaoku reveals that many medical doctors in Nigeria are leaving the country to work in better equipped hospitals abroad
- He recalls that after Independence, Nigeria was rated as the fourth in healthcare delivery, but this is no longer the case
Emeka Anyaoku, an elder statesman and third secretary-general, of the Commonwealth, has disclosed that over 4,765 doctors in the UK constituting 1.7 percent of the total workforce in the country’s medical sector are Nigerians.
The Nigerian Tribune reports that Anyaoku made the disclosure during the celebration of the 110th anniversary of the Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital and the launching of an ultramodern Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in Ogidi, Idemili North local government area of Anambra state.
Anyaoku said the hospital has been no exception from the general decline of institutions throughout the country.
“People of my age (85), feel nostalgia for the old days in the early years of our country’s Independence. During that period, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, the Commonwealth ranked Nigeria fourth in the hierarchy of health sector efficiency countries.
“In fact, at that time, ours was a country that itself was attracting medical tourism on account of the quality of the services offered by the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan.
“But today, it is lamentable that the federal government’s endorsement of the world Health Organization ( WHO), recommendation that 13 percent of the national budget should be allocated to the health sector, as well as the African Union’s Abuja declaration in 2001 that 15 percent of the national budget should be allocated to the health sector, only a paltry sum of between about 3.4 percent and 5.6 percent is allocated,” he said.
The report added that Anyaoku said the result of this ridiculously low budgetary allocation to the health sector over the years, combined with what is most times referred to as ‘the Nigerian factor’, had been that the nation is assailed with ill-equipped hospitals that have very low grade facilities.
“Indeed, most of our hospitals have been reduced to mere consulting clinics. Recently, we had a big shock to the national psyche when it was revealed that even the Aso Rock clinic that attends to the nation’s highest political leaders and their families was completely lacking in basic facilities like dr* gs and even syringes.
“It is, therefore no surprise that when he visited Nigeria recently, Bill Gates, the chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in criticising Nigeria for spending relatively far too little on the development of its human capital, pointed to the nation’s health sector alongside the education sector as some of the most neglected," Anyaoku lamented.
He said Nigeria is mentioned as having the worst maternal mortality rate in the league of countries that have experienced long periods of devastating civil wars, and have no comparable human and materials resources like Nigeria.
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“Yet, Nigeria’s dismal record and bad reputation in the health sector cannot come to anybody as a surprise, not when highly qualified Nigerian doctors are voting with their feet, fleeing and abandoning the country in droves to work abroad,” he said.
Anyaoku commended the authority of Iyi-Enu Hospital under the leadership of the bishop on the Niger, Rt Rev Owen Nwokolo, for accepting the challenge of restoring the medical facility to its past glory.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that three hundred Nigerian doctors left the country in 2016, the national president, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof Mike Ogirima, revealed recently.
He said more doctors have joined the migration train this year. He did not give any statistics, although NAN learnt that 500 doctors sat for qualifying foreign medical exams to move out.
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