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Nigeria's Indebtedness May Result in the Absence of Vaccines by April 2016

The Nigerian Senate was on Thursday notified that Nigeria was indebted to a lot of foreign health agencies which if not offset, could lead to absence of vaccinationvaccines in Nigeria around March or April 2016.

This report was made to the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases by the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Folorunsho Adewole at the National Assembly.

Professor Folorunsho who told the Committee that Nigeria owed several million dollars to international agencies that supplied vaccines and other medical facilities, even though it was being assisted by various donor organizations and that this undesirable trend of not matching financial grants and paying debts may bring Nigeria’s internationally commendable health achievements of recent years such as the eradication of polio and other diseases into disrepute.

While also calling for a change in Nigeria’s health sector and the implementation of the Health Act, Professor Adewole observed that the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care was at the base of reverting Nigeria’s currently lopsided health care pyramid because the Tertiary Institutions and Federal Medical Centres are being over utilised.

Following the footsteps of the Professor Adewole, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehinare appreciated the Committee and stated that the primary health care system was where health care delivery matters the most.

Warmly receiving the minister and his entourage, a member of the Committee, Senator Chris Anyanwu called for a synergy between the Ministry of health and the Senate Committee, advocating the enhancement of family health care and the decrease of communicable diseases in Nigeria, stating that loss of lives result from a poor health care management.

The Committee was also briefed on other challenges of the Ministry of Health such as incessant strikes by various medical unions and poor funding.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa lamented the worrisome nature of the strikes in the health sector and called for it to be nipped in the bud. Revealing that he was also the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, he promised to look into the disconcerting issue of professional rivalry and labour disputes among various medical unions while also promising to work with the Senate Committee on Tertiary Health Institutions stating that as politicians, his committee could go a long way to win the support of the grassroots by revamping and improving the primary health care delivery system.

Another pertinent issue that came up was the lack of finances on the part of Nigerian citizens for which the Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was set up. Acting Secretary of NHIS, Mr Femi Akinbade, briefed the committee on the importance of the scheme and the need to cover a lot of vulnerable people, poetically asserting that it is better to pay for what you don’t need today so that you don’t sell what you need tomorrow.

Responding to the NHIS, Senator Ohiabunwa clamoured for a sensitisation workshop among various State Houses of Assembly and urged the NHIS to be more aggressive in its information and sensitization programs.

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The Senate | Federal Republic of Nigeria | National Assembly Complex | Three Arms Zone, PMB 141, Abuja | Nigeria