By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives and major stakeholders in the health sector have unanimously endorsed the establishment of an Orthopaedic hospital in Jos and a federal medical centre, Wase, all in Plateau state.
The stakeholders included the Plateau State government; the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA branch of the State; Nigerian Orthopaedic Association, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria.
The endorsement took place at the public hearing organised by the House committee on health institutions on a bill for the establishment of Federal Medical Centre, Wase and a bill to amend the Orthopaedic Hospitals Management Board Laws to provide for the establishment of Orthopaedic Hospital in Jos.
Giving the synopsis of the bills, the sponsor and deputy speaker of the House, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase said the facilities when established will serve the medical needs of the people.
Wase who was represented at the hearing by Hon. Komsol Alphonsus Longgap, the people of Plateau south senatorial zone were always at the mercy of traditional bone setters who often left them with more complications.
Also speaking in favour of the bills, the Plateau state government represented by the commissioner for health, Dr Nimlong Lar Ndam said the establishment of the Federal Medical Centre, Wase will help bring tertiary health services to the people of Plateau south senatorial zone and other neighbouring states.
“Wase is made of 20 electoral wards with 62 health facilities both public and private, hence the idea for the establishment of the Federal Medical Centre, Wase is a step in the right direction as this institution will serve as a hub to the health institutions”.
According to Ndam, there was currently no public Orthopaedic hospital in the north-central and Jos.
He suggested the temporary site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital as a take-off point for the proposed National Orthopaedic Hospital, Jos.
In his presentation, the chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Plateau state branch, Dr Innocent Emmanuel said the development will curtail the travel expenses of the people who sought treatment in other places.
“Many people in this community are constantly being pushed into crushing poverty because they travel regularly at great cost to distant places to access health care.
“Some travel to Jos, which is over 200 kilometres, others to neighbouring Bauchi state, while others travel as far as Taraba state, crossing dangerous rivers and streams”, he said.
He said the hospital will reduce infant and maternal mortality in Plateau, give access to quality health care for the people and improve life expectancy, which currently stands at 54.33 years.
He said currently, there is only one tertiary health institution in Plateau state and it is located in the state capital.
Similarly, the Nigerian Orthopaedic Association in its memorandum by its president, Prof. Kunle Olawepo called for the establishment of a national Orthopaedic hospital in zones without one saying this will reduce the burden and pressure on the existing three Orthopaedic centres in the country.
Also, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria in its presentation by its President, Pharm. Sam Ohabunwa said there was a need to make provision for the establishment of a drug revolving fund in the medical centre to legally strengthen the operations of the already existing drug revolving scheme in the hospital.
In this vein, the National President, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Prof. James Garba Damen also supported the bills, calling for their immediate passage.
With the conclusion of the public hearing, the House Committee is expected to write its report and present it to the House for consideration and passage soon.