Why Nigeria lack efficient, effective health care system-health Minister, Dr. Mamora

ceba health minister dr. mamora
ceba health minister dr. mamora

Minister of State for health, Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora, has explained that Nigeria’s poor health care system was orchestrated by the silence of 1999 constitution that ought to had clearly define the role of the federating units as regards health care system.

Dr. Mamora who spoke at the maiden annual lecture series of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) with the theme “brain drain and medical tourism” in Abuja, said the 1999 Constitution seems to the cause of the challenges, in addition to poor political governance which must be right for other things to fall in place.

He said: “For those of us who are conversant with the 1999 Constitution, therein are Exclusive and Concurrent Legislative List. The Exclusive Legislative List has 68 items. On the other hand, the Concurrent Legislative List has 30 items.

“The 68 items in Exclusive Legislative are  items that only the Federal Government can legislate on as against the Concurrent Legislative List that the Federal and State Governments have some level of control over the 30 Items therein.

“Unfortunately, health is not in neither of the two. In legislative palace, any item not found in any of the lists is referred to as Residual list Items. It simply means that it’s the  responsibility of the States Government to legislate on those items. Unfortunately, otherwise is the case in Nigeria.

“What we have in today Nigeria is that the Federal Government is overburdened. That’s the truth. Federal Government is overburdened with what, ordinarily, should be the responsibilities of the State. That doesn’t mean that some States are not trying their best, especially in health sector, but a lot needs to be done. These are some of the challenges we are being confronted with. The Constitution seems to the cause of the challenges, but we won’t continue to lament but look for a solution.”

He insisted that Nigeria must get things right in health and education sectors, to be able to compete for space in comity of developed nations.

He said: “Until and unless we prioritize two key sectors, education and health, through a process of reaching a national consensus, we would be wasting our time. The much-expected growth and development would continue to elude us.

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“These are the two key sectors that would determine human development. If a person is not healthy, he or she cannot be well educated. Also, if he or she is not well educated, he or she cannot be healthy. We must get the political governance well before other things can fall in place.”

NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, in his speech, explained that the annual lecture series was an idea that was translated into reality through the fire of a vision, inexhaustible determination to achieve, and the commitment of an innovative and impact team.

He said: “Nigeria is faced with a disturbing shortage of health workforce. Nigeria has a doctor-to-population ratio of about 1: 4000-5000 which falls far short of the WHO recommended doctor-to-population ratio of 1:600.”

He said that Nigeria is still grappling with disturbingly poor health indices, and the country’s health sector groans under the devastating impact of huge human capital flight which now manifests as brain drain.

“Brain drain worsens the already depleted healthcare resources in Nigeria and widens the gap in health inequities worldwide. Healthcare workers generally migrate from developing countries to more developed countries, leaving a scarcity of health workers where the need is greatest.

“Available records show that between 2016 and 2018, Nigeria lost over 9,000 Medical Doctors to UK and US. The loss left Nigeria with 4.7 per cent of its Specialists to service the healthcare needs of millions of people.”

He expressed optimism that the meeting will proffer solution to the depleting health manpower in the country, thus restoring the hope of Nigerians of getting quality attention from health workers.

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