Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has explained that primary and secondary health care system in Nigeria has collapsed, saying that the situation was putting pressure on Teaching Hospitals.
He stated this at an interactive session with the Senate on conditions of Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria on Tuesday.
The Health Minister appeared at the invitation of the Senate.
In his opening remark, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki expressed concern over poor health care services rendered at the Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria.
He said, the Parliament consciously appropriated enough funds to Teaching Hospitals in the last four years despite the misinterpretation of lawmakers’ action as padding.
“Based on powers conferred on me as the Senate President, and following resolutions by the Senate to invite you, we like you to explain the conditions of Nigeria’s Teaching Hospitals that operates poorly despite enough funds appropriated. ”
In his further explanation, the Minister pointed out that Teaching Hospitals are primarily designed to accept referrals from primary and secondary hospitals.
He said, it was unfortunate that primary and secondary health care centres were no longer functioning, noting that even minor sicknesses were taken to Teaching Hospitals now.
“Teaching Hospitals are designed to accept referrals from Hospitals, but over time, primary and secondary hospitals are no more. Minor sicknesses like headache and malaria are taken to Teaching Hospitals now.”
“Over the last couple of years, we have a challenge of infrastructure with a bad foundation. Under Babangida administration, the then Minister of Health, late Dr. Olukoye Ramsome Kuti was committed to Primary Health system because it was close to the people.”
“Obasanjo administration which came later did little to advance the Primary health care system. His government concentrated on Tertiary Medicare.”
“Even media reports pointed that government has no business with primary and secondary health care, and people began to go to University Teaching Hospitals.”
The Minister commended the Senate for their intervention in appropriating funds to the Health Ministry over time, stating that the Ministry now accesses funds directly from CBN, a feat that has not happened before in the country.
“With your intervention, money flows from the Central Bank to Primary and Secondary Health Care through organised platform where States are registered.”
Adewale expressed displeasure that some states are yet to register in order to access the funds.
“Unfortunately, about 14 States have not yet registered to access funds directly from the Central Bank yet.”
“It is not that services are epileptic and I appeal that states that have abandon primary health care should consider health services at that level
in order to reduce crowd at the Teaching Hospitals.”
The Minister stressed that some Teaching Hospitals in the country were living up to expectations through management of their Internally Generated Revenues.
“University of Uyo Teaching Hospital is a model of how Teaching Hospitals should be. There is a new Chief Medical Director who did wonderfully by linking the facility with the National grid.”