This was part of the resolutions of a stakeholder meeting on “The Importance of Primary Health in Nigeria” organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) recently in Abuja where they agreed that Nigerians have less than 12 days before the constitutional 30 days elapse for the President to sign the bill.
CISLAC Executive Director Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani said the health sector has suffered years of neglect, so much so that health centres have become death traps because they are under-funded, ill equipped and festering with incompetent health care providers among others.
“If the health sector had the kind of support accorded by the federal and state governments to the millennium development goals, through counterpart funding of the sector, by now the sector would have begun to record substantial successes instead of sustained systems failures. For instance the health sector has seen a lot of support from international communities and yet the sector is among the worst cared for.
“The various roles and functions of the three tiers of government as it concerns health, as at now, are not clearly defined. Ideally, the federal government makes policies and guidelines while the state implements, the role of the local government is not clear, and there is no accountability mechanism in place to checkmate the activities of health boards and health workers at community level.
“Healthcare is still made unaffordable and inaccessible to ordinary citizens which makes is impossible for them to seek professional healthcare when ill but would rather resort to all manner of self-help for succour,” Rafsanjani said.
The Legal Officer of the Open Society Justice Initiative, Maxwell Kadiri; Dayo Olaide of the MacArthur Foundation; Dr. Mairo Mandara; Hajia Saudatu Mahdi; Dr. Aminu Magashi; Ms Tessy Effa and the Executive Secretary of the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) among others were unanimous in tasking the media and Nigerians to “Declare a 12-day activism to make President Jonathan sign the Bill into law in the interest of the country and the citizenry.”