By Temitope Akintoye,
The Nigerian former Vice-President and People Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s son, Mohammed, has expressed appreciation to the Doctors, Nurses, and other healthcare workers at frontline of the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mohammed said that the healthcare providers had shown selflessness and patriotism in the discharge of duties and that accolades were deserved for the professionalism with which the COVID-19 crisis was being tackled despite existing infrastructural shortcomings.
He stated that though the sudden onset of the pandemic had caught the nation’s healthcare system unawares, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had put in efforts to overcome the disease despite prevalent challenges in the sector.
Mohammed, who confirmed his recovery and discharge through a statement released from Atiku’s office on Tuesday, said that the rising incidence of coronavirus cases in the nation had revealed the weakness of Nigeria’s healthcare sector and that it had called government attention to the need for adequate funding and policymaking for the health system.
He said that such attention gave hope that the country’s health sector would experience growth in coming times and that focus would be placed on ensuring its development.
“Thanks to coronavirus outbreak, we are now coming to terms with the necessity of adequate funding of our healthcare system. This disease has brought the rich, the poor, and the powerful to a common level. This is the time our policymakers should reset our national priorities and give our health system adequate attention. No investment in our health sector is too much,”
“In October 2016, the then Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health (currently the Minister of Health), Dr. Osagie Ehanire was quoted as saying that Nigeria was spending a whopping $1 billion dollars annually on medical tourism abroad. This revelation is a reminder of the urgent need to mobilize resources towards upgrading our health system at home in order to render medical tourism almost unnecessary. It’s time to restore confidence in our own health system and that can only be achieved by adequate investment and funding”.
According to Mohammed, it was expedient that the federal government provide the support necessary for building a health sector that could combat any rising crisis through provision of adequate funding for drug and vaccine research ahead of any eventuality.
He said that such moves would build a Nigerian healthcare system with the capacity to attend to all healthcare concerns and save the country much-needed funds that would have been expended on medical tourism to other nations.
Mohammed, who expressed joy and relief over his recovery, also thanked Nigerians for prayers and goodwill messages received during the period of illness and offered prayers that God should heal other coronavirus patients across the country.