Nigeria’s health sector is positioned to emerge stronger from COVID-19 – Speaker

Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday assured Nigerians that the country’s health sector will come out stronger at the end of COVID-19 pandemic, going by efforts aimed at repositioning the sector.

Gbajabiamila said this when he received a report on stakeholders roundtable in the health sector, organised by the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs on in Abuja.

The report titled the `Green Book’, was a detailed documentation of sectorial engagements proffering solutions to challenges across the sector.

Gbajabiamila charged the House Committees on Health Institutions and Health Services to ensure that the house delivered on its contract with the Nigerian people with regards to healthcare service.

“So for me, it is a good start but the work has only just begun and the Health Committee and indeed the House have their work cutout, we have the legislative agenda, we have a contract with Nigerians and within that contract, we intend to tick boxes as we go along.

“I hope we will be able to tick the box in the health sector and tick it with a very thick ink, knowing that we have achieved what we set out to achieve in that sector.

“We have the Green Chambers and now we have the Green Book, we will continue with the greens sector by sector as we go along.

“It is instructive that the first one is on health, we all said it here, that the whole world was thrown into disarray with the advent of the COVID-19, even the most advanced democracies and the most developed heath sectors did not know what to do, they were caught napping.

“In our case in Nigeria, it brought out the under belly of the country, we did not even have a health sector, we only have a semblance of a health sector and I am very happy we were able to raise up to the challenges.

“It is not what will be fixed in one or two or three years, the deficit is so wide that it will take a number of years to fix it but the most important thing is that we have started and we are on the right track and I believe if we continue on this track, I believe at some point Nigeria we will get there at some point.

“Within two weeks, I inspected two major facilities in Lagos, a cancer centre, you need to go there, you cannot find anything better in the world and another hospital in Lekki and am opening another one in April.

“So out of the pandemic, something has come up that is of immense benefit to Nigerians, it is unfortunate that it took that but it is one thing to be caught napping and not do anything about it and is another thing to be caught napping and fix the problem and that is what exactly we are trying to do,’’ he said.

Gbajabiamila said that 9th House of Representatives has acted like no other house, describing the house as pace setter in starting a revolutionary change in certain areas.

According to him, the reason we are delighted is that we hope that the 10th, 11th and 12th assembly will build upon what we have done and do even be better but we will lay claim to being the foundation for the revolutionary achievement.

Presenting the report, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) said to achieve the legislative agenda of the house, the committee had successfully released the 3rd edition of the Green Magazine.

Kalu said that while the Green Magazine highlighted the activity of the house and its members, the Green Book was a detailed documentation of sectorial engagements aimed at addressing issues across all sectors.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Rep. Yusuf Sununu, thanked the Speaker for his commitment to the health sector and for giving the committee the opportunity to find solutions to some of the challenges in the sector.

The Director, Advocacy for Civic Engagement Centre, Mr Obinna Osisiogu, whose organisation was one of the CSOs at the forefront of the engagement, expressed confidence that the roundtable would go a long way to address health sector problems in the country.

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