President Buhari pledges to increase health budget

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says the federal government is considering an upward review of budgetary allocation to the health sector to improve the quality and access to medical facilities across the country.

Mr Buhari, who will be standing for reelection next year made the pledge when he received the new executive of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the State House, Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, the review will reflect the government’s priority of ensuring that Nigerians get better healthcare, especially in specialised areas.

“We place quality healthcare on our priority list, and we are already marching on with the Primary Health Care services and some state governors have bought into it.

“We are committed to universal health care.’’

The president assured the NMA that the White Paper from the Ahmed Yayale-led panel report on Inter-professional Harmony in the Healthcare Sector was already being considered by the government.

According to him, this is to ensure a more organised and harmonised working relationship among medical practitioners.

Mr Buhari, however, urged the medical practitioners to always consider their profession as a “divine call’’, especially in taking decisions that directly impact on the lives of Nigerians.

He also enjoined them to explore other means of negotiation for better working conditions instead of strikes.

“The medical profession is regarded as a divine call because of the strategic role you play in the lives of human beings,’’ he said.

The President commended the NMA on some of the medical feats being achieved in Nigeria such as the separation of conjoined twins, organ transplants, heart surgeries and treatment of cancer patients among others.

He noted that the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council would soon be constituted to further enhance service delivery and regulation of the sector.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ohanire, said a newly released basic health care provision would further focus on improving service delivery to Nigerians through Primary Health Care.

Also speaking, President of the NMA, Francis Adedayo, commended Mr Buhari for including members of the NMA in the Federal Executive Council and signing of the Medical Residency Training Act into law.

Mr Adedayo urged the Federal Government to improve the budgetary allocation to the health sector as contained in the Abuja Declaration which sets a benchmark of 15 per cent.

He said the speedy implementation of the Ahmed Yayale report on harmony among practitioners in the medical sector would go a long way in enhancing service delivery and better working relationship.

The NMA president said the association had already reached out to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for stronger partnership in providing care for victims of disasters.


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