Halting Medical Pilgrimage: The Jonathan Exemplar, By Josephine Babatunde

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By now it is clear to right thinking Nigerians that the transformation embarked upon by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has impacted positively in all the sectors of the body politic, never mind his opponents who are wont to harangue him on every issue under the sun.

As a mother of four children, not a politician but a law abiding citizen of this country who would always call a spade a spade, the transformation in the health sector since the inception of this administration, is the best since the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates of Nigeria. 

Having lived both in the rural and urban areas, I have come to the conclusion that the achievement of the administration in the improvement of the health sector has shamed those health tourists who always leave bag and baggage for India to seek medical attention.

Do you know that the maternal mortality rate has dropped by more than 50 per cent since the transformation agenda began to crystallize in the health sector and there is a heightened hope that before the end of the first tenure of this administration, it would have been reduced to zero percentage? 

Is it not worthy of mention that women who are expectant do not need to lose their sleep because the health policy of the President Jonathan’s administration has given hope to expectant mothers through provision of quality health facilities?   

Now, it is no more news that most  of the ailments that force most Nigerians to foreign lands have been successfully taken care of in our University Teaching Hospitals scattered all over the country.  In what appears miraculous, the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital has been successfully and progressively carrying out surgical operations on patients who have heart problems in the country.  Ditto for the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital, and this particular ailment has caused a massive capital flight in the past as most patients seek solution in Indian Hospitals.

It is a thing of joy that people with sickle cell anemia can heave a sigh of relief as the University of Benin Teaching Hospital has successfully treated patients of this ailment and they are back to normal life and have been confirmed to be free from the sickness. 

It is on record that since the inception of this administration there has been an improved access to primary healthcare in the country.  For instance, it is to the credit of this administration that guinea worm epidemic has been totally eradicated in the country to the point that the World Health Organization has certified the country free of the disease.

It is under this administration that the “Saving One Million Lives” initiative was introduced; and, since the introduction of this scheme, over 433,650 lives have been saved from November 2012 to June2013. It is under this administration that 1500 primary healthcare facilities have been refurbished and supplied essential drugs, and if you visit clinics in your locality there is a genuine drug to administer to diseases.  The administration caused the establishment of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and that initiative has been able to reduce the spread of diseases that ordinarily would have decimated millions of Nigerians.

It is not only in providing facilities that the administration has excelled; it is on record that there is a progressive training of health personnel to manage the facilities provided.  The Overseas component of the Residency Training Programme to build the capacity of health professionals with over 60 doctors benefiting is the fallout of the training policy embarked upon by the administration to transform the health sector.

Capacity for kidney transplant has been strengthened within the last one year with Lagos University Teaching Hospital and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital joining the league, and this has again drastically reduced the capital flight to the foreign land by health tourists Does this not call for celebration?

Since this administration launched the community-based Health Insurance Scheme, the scheme has been fully established in a number of communities in 12 states, thereby granting medical access to poor Nigerians.  In the same vein, Health insurance coverage has increased from 6 per cent in 2011 to 8 per cent in 2013.

In the area of immunization, since the inception of this administration, the National Immunization Coverage has increased from 38 per cent in 2012 to 82 per cent in 2013, thereby securing the future of our children health-wise. 

Malaria, which has been a silent killer for a very long time in the country, has been caged since the inception of this administration.  There are indices on the ground that the administration has concluded plans to eradicate malaria before the end of its first tenure.  For the first in the history of this country, the Federal Government introduced a curriculum for the training of the paramedics, in a bid to bringing health personnel to the door of the citizens across the country.  In 2013, government recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country to end the era of the dearth of medical personnel. This crop of medical personnel recruited by the government has been able to save over 400,000 lives through various interventions.

For the first time in the history of this country, there has not been any transmission of the Type 3 Wild Polio virus for more than one year.  While it may not be good politics for the opposition not to see anything good in these strides, the beneficiaries on the ground, the average Nigerians, would wish for continuation, despite the cacophony of noises in the media that seek to drown the true transformation.

Josephine Babatunde sent this piece from Festac Town, Lagos.

 

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