November 15, 2020

2021 Budget: Reps will raise health budget — Gbajabiamila



By Tordue Salem,

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said the Green Chamber would consider an increase to the allocation for the health sector in the 2021 budget.

The Speaker gave the assurance, at a 2-day training organised for health workers by his office in Lagos State. He said the programme was to improve their capacity to be able to handle the Covid-19 situation better.

While declaring the training open on Sunday in Lagos, the Speaker said it was “part of efforts to ensure that health care professionals have the skills they need to continue to do the incredible work they have done so far.”

The Speaker, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Lanre Lasisi, “paid glowing tributes to all health workers across the country for the way they have handled the Covid-19 situation so far, said he believed they deserve more attention in terms of training and capacity building”.

According to the Speaker, “Through all of this, our medical professionals have shown exemplary courage and commitment. Their efforts have renewed our faith in the human spirit and shown us that we are, each one of us, capable of extraordinary greatness, of courage beyond measure and goodness beyond what we imagine in ordinary times,”

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He said: “This moment also requires that governments at all levels continue to support the training, welfare and wellbeing of the medical professionals who are at the forefront of this existential battle. We owe them that much, and so much more.”

Gbajabiamila added that the House “has committed to increasing the appropriations due to the health sector so that we can remedy the weaknesses of infrastructure and capacity, access and quality that bedevil our national health care system.

“It is also an example of what we can do when we work together, across different levels of government and with the private sector to deliver objectives that serve the best interests of all our citizens.”

He was delighted at the discovery of a vaccine that would end Covid-19, but however, cautioned that “Yet we must recognise, and we must continue to act in the knowledge that we are still far from the time when that vaccine will be perfect and readily available to all the people of the world.”

“When the final account of this moment is given, we will not forget to credit the health workers and medical professionals who have helped us here in Nigeria, and others all over the world, to manage and overcome the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“So, while we anticipate this medical breakthrough, we must brace ourselves to deal with the reality of now. And the truth is that we still have work to do to ensure that we survive this battle against disease and death.

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“That work begins with making sure that all our citizens continue to observe the Covid-19 guidelines and keep looking out for one another as we have done so far.”

Gbajabiamila thanked the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for personally attending the programme as well as other partners and those that helped design the programme.

Speaking, Sanwo-Olu, who acknowledged the fact that the Speaker is doing both Lagos and Nigeria proud, said the training would deepen the efforts of the Lagos State Government in ensuring that health care is accessible and affordable to the people of the state.

“For us in Lagos State, we’ll continue to see health delivery as an important pillar in our team’s agenda. We have committed to see that year on, we’ll increase our budget size in health,” the governor said, adding that despite the budget reduction of about 22 percent during this year, that of health was increased instead.

“We’ll continue to ensure that we raise the bar on our health agenda. I’m sure in terms of numbers, you saw how many tests we did for Covid in Lagos. Because we know it’s public health, we’ve done over 120,000 to 125,000 free. So, you can compare to when we brought our private laboratory practitioners.

“It goes to show you that envelope, the size of financial commitment that the state had to make, to make sure that a public health challenge like Covid was not just something that we were glossing over. We faced it right from the beginning.

“Today, it’s about the Speaker, who deemed it fit to say that ‘this is time to look back and give back to a sector that I truly believe in.’ So, Mr Speaker and the Chairman House Committee on Health, we want to thank you for bringing this to Lagos.”

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Rep. Tanko Sununu, said Nigerians are appreciative of the proactive measures taken by the Lagos State governor toward containing the coronavirus since its outbreak in Nigeria, as well as his continuous surveillance and interventions.

“This training is very important being about ethics, which is a systematic strategy of what a person’s conduct and actions should be with regards to self, whether humans and the environment, couldn’t have come at a better time than now, when Nigerians, most especially medical and healthcare providers are passing through a lot of stress.

“The training will serve the practitioners with the best conduct expected of them while providing health service with empathy in order to have an excellent outcome for patients”.

Also, the Minister of State for Healthcare, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, lauded the Speaker for organizing the training, which he said would go a long way in achieving its objectives of improving the capacity of the health workers.

“This training represents the quest and desire for improvement, growth and development in the health sector. Any system that has no interest in training programmes for the personnel or fails to give training the importance it deserves has inevitably planned to fail or fizzle out completely

“In order to keep pace with quality delivery of services, there must be deliberate and committed efforts to ensure that continuous training and capacity building remain at the center of the institution’s mandate,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria