The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has called for public investments in the health sector to manage and prevent Coronavirus from escalating in the country.
PGF Director-General, Mr Salihu Lukman, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said the investments should cover provision of medical equipment and the development of healthcare personnel, medicine and research.
“At this early stage of the manifestations of the threat of Covid-19 in Nigeria, we need to take urgent steps to recover our humanity.
“We need to focus ourselves to ensure that our responses help in producing the needed changes that could protect lives of citizens, guarantee quality and accessible healthcare services.
“All these can only be achieved through high public investment in our health sector, which will also be partly dependent on similar high public investment in the education sector that will be required to produce the medical personnel,” Lukman said.
According to him, it is true that our leaders have disappointed us over the years.
“It is also true that our leaders have, with hardly any exception, piloted the affairs of our country with submissive compliance to the philosophy that discourages public investment in health and educational sectors, at least since the mid 1980s.
“Most cases of public investments in these sectors prioritise construction of hospitals and schools or classrooms.
“In very rare instances, the limited investments cover provisions of medical equipment,” the director-general said.
He added that investments in development of healthcare personnel, medicine, research, teachers and books were hardly considered.
“Somewhat because effectiveness of responses will be determined by the quality of services provided by the health sector, initiatives around healthcare service delivery should be the focus of attention.
“Given the terrible state of our hospitals in Nigeria such that almost every citizen believes that to find cure for any sickness, major or minor, Nigerians have to go outside the country.
“Irrespective of our earnings or social status, it is a common belief across all divides in the country.
“As a result, everybody’s instinct, once faced with medical challenge is to mobilise financial resources, which many have to achieve through donations by family members and well-wishers,” he said.
Lukman said with Covid-19 dangers facing all countries equally, most of the countries that used to be destinations for Nigerians in search of medical services had shut down.
“Therefore, part of what could be the challenge facing us as Nigerians may be the issue of initiating processes of developing our health sector such that it is able to mobilise our leaders and citizens to work in harmony,” he said. (NAN)