By Ndidi Chukwu
Since his appointment as the new Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has made a passionate commitment to prioritise programmes that will gear towards ending medical tourism by Nigerians. This he has also backed with the policy to develop 6 National Cancer Centres in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria to end the cancer scourge in the nation.
Some Nigerians through a social media platform are saying that the policies of the minister are just for curative medicine as they also have advised the minister to look toward preventive medicine, which is more effective, less expensive and result based.
On twitter last week, a Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) Opinion Poll, with the hash tag “#talk2healthminister” asked Nigerian public question-“what do you want the health minister to do?” got answers like this
- “the minister should ensure more budgetary allocation 2 MNCH” twitted by Asmau Ahmed with twitter handle @asmeeey
- “functional PHC, that’s where the problem lies” twitted by Bilkisu Ado Zango with twitter handle @bilkisuAdoZango
- “transparency and accountability around routine immunisation finances has great impact in ending childhood diseases, Act Now” twitted by Farouk
- Khadija Abdulwahab with handle @canalily, Doris Ibrahim with handle @dorisninsenre and @bilkisuAdoZango twitted “we want our ogas @ the top 2 stop travelling abroad 2 seek medical care ” “yes this is very crucial…medical tourism should be shunned ”
Most of the responses recorded in the polls indicate the yearnings of over 160 million Nigerians for the nation to pay attention to reducing childhood killer diseases, through improved routine immunisation, proper, adequate and timely allocation of funds to health which will target the elimination of communicable diseases.
Nigerians also would wish to have Professor Adewole ensure the full implementation of the National Health Act, which clearly captures the nation’s role to provide equitable and accessible health to every Nigerian.
“curative medicine is good, the minister’s focus to end the cancer scourge is well accepted and ending medical tourism also is one of the huge hopes that Nigerians have on him, but it would be better if he meticulously ensures that PHCs are adequately functional, improve maternal health services which will reduce maternal deaths to the barest minimum, and also ensure that routine immunisation programmes are prioritised” said Dr. Aminu Magashi, CHR Trustee Chairman, and Coordinator for Africa Health Budget Network.
Magashi suggests access to immunisation, “ensuring availability of vaccines, like the Human Papilloma Vaccine in Nigeria would prevent cervical cancers, when people are vaccinated diseases are prevented, there will be no need for the worst case scenarios” he said