The House of Representatives in Nigeria has passed a resounding call to the Federal Government, urging the declaration of a state of emergency in the nation’s health sector. The legislators have appealed for a significant increase in budget allocation to the sector in the 2024 budget estimates.
This resolution was reached during a plenary session held in Abuja, following a motion presented by Fayinka Oluwatoyin, an All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Lagos State.
The motion, titled “Need for the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency to Collaborate with relevant health agencies in States and Local Governments to Ensure the Functionality of Primary Healthcare Centres,” highlights the dire state of healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria.
Oluwatoyin expressed concern over the dilapidated health facilities in the country, particularly the primary healthcare centers. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is faced with alarmingly high dysfunction rates within these crucial facilities.
The motion revealed that out of the approximately 39,983 hospitals and clinics in Nigeria as of 2020, primary healthcare centers constitute a significant portion, accounting for about 86 percent. Shockingly, only 20 percent of these primary healthcare centers remain functional, mainly in rural areas where the lack of adequate facilities, qualified personnel, medical equipment, and road networks has led to increased mortality rates.
As a solution, Oluwatoyin proposed revitalization efforts with a budget allocation of US$80 million to enhance bed spaces and healthcare services.
The House’s resolution calls upon the Federal Ministry of Health to collaborate with state governments and local authorities in reviving primary healthcare programs at the grassroots level. Additionally, the ministry is urged to provide quality and affordable healthcare for the masses.
Furthermore, it recommends the establishment of a task force, in partnership with state ministries, local government authorities, and other stakeholders, to combat medical malpractice, particularly in rural areas. The task force is to present summary reports to the Committee on Healthcare Services for evaluating the standards of primary healthcare centers from 2016 to 2022.