By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – WIFE of the President, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has appealed to private medical institutions in Nigeria to reduce the high cost of their services in the country.
Mrs. Buhari made the appeal when the officials of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria visited her Wednesday in her office at the State House, Abuja.
She observed that many Nigerians who do not have access to public health services resort to private hospitals which are very expensive and this has implications on not just the patients but the nation’s health indices.
She said, “Private health care is expensive, your association needs to revisit the issue of charges” she called on practitioners to “make treatments affordable so that more people can access your services and health outcomes can improve.”
In a statement by Suleiman Haruna, Director of Informationt, Office of Wife of the President, State House, the First Lady lamented the brain drain in the health sector, saying people travel abroad mostly to be treated by Nigerian practitioners.
She called for better working conditions for them so that they are encouraged to remain in Nigeria.
She said, “I also urge your association to check cases of malpractice by private hospitals, which are becoming more rampant. She urged.”
She recommended a Public-Private Partnership, whereby private sector firms can invest in the health sector and reduce the burden on government.
“That is why I am convening a stakeholder event soon, to draw their attention to the possibilities and opportunities in the sector.”
President of the Association, Dr. Frank Odofen, commended wife of the President’s commitment to the health of women and children through the Future Assured Programme, which dovetailed into her recent appointment as UNAIDS ambassador, believing that with her passion, health care indices will improve in Nigeria.
President of World Organization of Family Doctors, Prof. Amanda Howe, who was on a two-day visit to Nigeria, observed that the pronouncements and programmes of Mrs. Buhari are worthy of emulation as the challenges in the health sector require strong commitment.
She noted that medical personnel working in communities in Nigeria were doing wonderful jobs by providing support and preventing diseases through education of families, patients and health workers.