By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila has said that one of the ways to serve the interests of Nigerians was to provide healthcare that is both accessible and affordable.
He, therefore, stated the need for innovative solutions and collaborations to address the challenges confronting the health sector in Nigeria.
The Speaker made the declaration during the official commissioning ceremony of the Muhammadu Buhari international conference centre and Telemedicine Hall at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State on Monday.
He also emphasized the need for collaboration across government and between governments and the private sector for desired results in the health sector.
He said: “Providing access to quality healthcare that our people can afford is one way we serve their best interests and ensure fidelity to our constitutional obligations.
“The projects we have come to commission here today will help ensure that the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta continues to be a world-class medical facility.
“These projects will allow the medical professionals at this centre to continue providing care and treatment to the sick and afflicted, conducting research that advances the cause of medical science and all together promoting the welfare and wellbeing of the Nigerian people. This is a good thing, worthy of celebration.”
Bemoaning the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the last one year, Gbajabiamila commended Nigerian health workers for rising to the occasion.
He said that more work needed to be done to overcome the myriad of deficiencies to deliver a healthcare system that would medically prioritize emergencies.
“I am now and will always remain a great admirer and champion of our nation’s medical professionals, and I ask you all this morning to join me in celebrating them for their noble efforts.
“Thanks to advances in medical science and the availability of a vaccine, we hope to soon rid ourselves and our world of this disease so that we can at long last begin to account for what is lost and rebuild better for the future”, he said.
“We have in our country today a deficit of healthcare infrastructure and a problem of healthcare cost. There are structural issues relating to healthcare regulation and the distribution of responsibilities across our country’s three governance tiers.
“A shortage of personnel compounded by the inadequate service conditions for medical professionals presents its own unique set of challenges. These problems demand innovative solutions; they require collaboration across government and between governments and the private sector. It is a joint task for which we all bear varying degrees of responsibility.”
Gbajabiamila said the 9th House of Representatives has in its Legislative Agenda made a commitment “to address those parts of the problems that fall within our remit, primarily related to statutory reform of such critical legislation as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act and the National Healthcare Act, the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill amongst others.
“We will also continue to use the appropriations process to fund projects that bridge the infrastructure gap and ensure that essential healthcare facilities are available across the country to benefit all our people.
“I ask you all for support in these efforts, and I assure you that we will work with all who are willing to meet the challenges we face so that together, we will leave a legacy of success in this critical national sector.”