By Muhammad Auwal
The Medical Guild in Lagos State has called on the three tiers of government to concentrate more on the improvement of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and ensure general development of the health sector in 2019.
Dr Babajide Saheed, Chairman of the guild, who made the call in an interview with media men on Thursday in Lagos, also called for the establishment of health insurance in their respective state for everybody to access.
Medical Guild is an association of doctors employed under the Lagos State Government.
Saheed said that addressing these issues would improve the quality of healthcare delivery and the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“PHC is very close to the populace, especially those in the rural areas; it is the first port of call when people took ill.
“In order to reduce the mortality and morbidity rates in the country, the most important thing any country should be serious about concerning health is the PHCs.
“If it is taking care of, both secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare delivery will not be overcrowded.
“Also, health insurance is very paramount for quality healthcare delivery; it improves visitation to the hospital when people know they are not paying so much out-of-pocket.
“Poverty and low income make people prefer self-medication which develops into complications, increases visits to the tertiary hospitals, and eventually increases mortality rates.
“Governments should look into these issues and address them appropriately to improve the health indices of the country,“ he said.
The guild chairman also urged the government to address the shortage of health workers in the state.
According to him, the shortage of workers contributes to poor healthcare delivery being experienced in the states.
“There is a great shortage of health workers; at the end of the day, healthcare delivery is poor.
“Governments should improve the residency programme and employ doctors who have graduated to address the shortage being experienced,“ Saheed said.
He said that budget allocation to the health sector was still below the 15 per cent agreed by the Abuja Declaration signed by Nigeria and other African leaders at an AU meeting in Abuja in 2001.
Newsmen report that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Dec.19 proposed a recurrent expenditure of N315.62 billion for the Ministry of Health in its 2019 Appropriation Bill submitted to the National Assembly.