By Chinonso Alozie
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health, Paschal Obi, representing Ideato North/South from Imo State, on Sunday, said the South-East, South-South and other regions do not have a functional radiotherapy facility for cancer patients.
Obi revealed this at the secretariat of Ideato North Council Area of the state, when he was welcomed home officially into the fold of All Progressives Congress, APC, from the Action Alliance, AA.
According to the lawmaker, the situation fell short of the standard stipulated by the World Health Organisation, WHO. He added that the plan, currently, was to ensure that the six geo-political zones have a functional radiotherapy facility to meet up with the demands in the health sector.
Speaking on their plans for the health sector, he said: “We just started less than six months ago and have done a lot since. But you will see the effect of what we have done by the time the 2021 budget is articulated.
“The present budget was not done by us because we did not interface with the MDAs. So we were sworn in when the budget was ready for presentation at the House. By next year you will see us in action.
“We don’t have functional cancer radiotherapy anymore, especially in the South-East and South-South. We have only one functional one either in Sokoto, Usman Dan Fodio Teaching Hospital and another one they recently brought to the national hospital.
“It is a far cry by the standard given by the World Health Organisation, WHO. What we are trying to do is for us to have functional ones in the geo-political zones of the country.
“You can see when our people are referred for radiotherapy, they go to these places and will be given six months’ appointment. Sometimes they die even before it gets to the date given to them.”
On the efforts by his health committee to end the challenges of brain drain in the sector, he said: “Look at these hospitals and you will agree with me that brain drain is also one of the problems we are having in the health sector. This is because we don’t pay our doctors well compared to what they earn even in developed countries.
“We are devising means to curb this brain drain challenge. The bill for brain drain is still passing some necessary crucibles, so we can’t divulge the content now.”