Why FG, state govts must increase budgetary allocations to health sector – Association of Seadogs

baebae nas seadogs
baebae nas seadogs

From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

National Association of Seadogs (NAS) has called on the Federal Government and state governments in Nigeria to increase budgetary allocations to the health sector in order to improve the overall health of the citizenry across the country.

National President of the association, Abiola Owoaje, gave the advice during an interview with journalists on the sideline of a medical outreach, organised by NAS at Primary Healthcare Centre, Onipe Village, Oluyole, Local Government Area, Ibadan, Oyo State on Thursday.

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About 200 villagers were given health lifeline, including free consultation, testing, medications and reading glasses, as well as referrals to competent health facilities for higher medical attention.

The organisation was formed in 1952 by the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, and six others, when they were students at the University College Ibadan, now University of Ibadan for the purpose of humanitarian and charitable endeavours within Nigeria and whatever society the members find themselves.

According to Owoaje, “The main challenge, which also applies to all sectors as well, is funding. When you look at the main budget that the Federal Government gives, and that of some state governments as well, it is never enough to take care of the health sector. That is why we have a lot of brain drain. A lot of medical doctors have left the country, going to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

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“So, if we can address that issue of funding support, I am sure it will take care of a lot of things, in terms of actual resources that they require, medical staff, infrastructure, and most importantly too, a lot of hospitals need restructuring. I am sure that once we can resolve that issue of funding, it will make a great difference in the health sector.”

Owoaje explained further that the National Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates Confraternity, has been carrying out humanitarian services across the country for so many years. He added that the organisation normally carries out a medical outreach once every three months, apart from the medical outreach members of the group usually execute during their annual general meetings.

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His words: “We have our members in almost every state of the federation. Through our branches nationwide, we have always been ensuring that we give back to the society. We have been doing this for so many years. We assist in the area of primary health care. We give basic medical assistance.

“For this medical outreach, we held our annual general meeting in Ibadan. Then, we looked around and thought that we should come to this community (Onipe). Then, we got our medical team together and to the Onipe community.”