Since the entry and eventual spread of Coronavirus, otherwise called COVID-19, into Nigeria, the Federal and state governments have risen to the challenge, putting in place various measures to checkmate the pandemic.
These measures, restrictive as some are, have been embraced by a greater percentage of Nigerians in places like Lagos, Ogun, FCT and others with confirmed cases of infected persons. Other states that are yet to record any confirmed case of the virus are also not folding their hands as they have set in motion measures to track the virus should it show up in their jurisdictions.
These measures, in our opinion, are commendable and should be sustained so that the number of infected persons in the country and deaths arising therefrom remain low at the end of day.
However, one fact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) entry and spread in Nigeria has brought to the fore is the urgent need for federal and state governments to revamp Health institutions under their purview so that these institutions are in a position to attend to health needs of Nigerians at all times and at affordable cost.
This is because over the years, not a few Nigerians had drawn attention to the near collapse of the nation’s Health sector, particularly the decayed infrastructure in public hospitals, obsolete equipment, inadequate manpower, non-availability of essential medicaments as well as the unconducive environment workers in the sector are subjected to leading to the migration of a good number of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to other countries for greener pasture.
The presence of COVID-19, in our opinion, therefore, offers our public officials at both federal and state levels an opportunity to reverse these. It offers an opportunity for them to take another look at the parlous state of most public hospitals in their jurisdictions with the aim of revamping not only the facilities and equipment but also addressing the concerns of health workers. It provides an opportunity for our political office holders to stop paying lips service to the Health sector.
We insist that now is the time for public officials to end all talks of being concerned about the state of public health facilities but to take action(s).
With COVID-19 in Nigeria, we believe it is time for federal and state governments to quickly put all public hospitals in good condition by providing adequate funding, ensuring that facilities are up-to-date as well as providing good environment and welfare for Health workers.
In our view, Governments at all levels in the country should use the presence of Coronavirus as an opportunity to make greater investments in the Health sector. Governments should from now stop paying lips service to issues affecting the Health sector. Health, as it is often said, is wealth and this should be the priority of all tiers of government in Nigeria going forward.