The Federal Government plans to build 10,000 primary health centres in 774 local government areas to make medical care available to more Nigerians and decongest tertiary health institutions, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said yesterday.
He added that over 60 million indigent citizens would to be given access to quality healthcare delivery within the next two years under the health agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister spoke at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti (FETHI), where he inaugurated 12 projects executed and completed by its Chief Medical Director, Dr. Majekodunmi Ayodele.
Adewole explained that Buhari was determined to alleviate the citizens’ sufferings in the area of quality healthcare by providing more facilities at both the primary and secondary health institutions.
The minister decried a situation in which minor health problems expected to be treated at primary and secondary health centres were taken to teaching hospitals, stressing that government planned to decongest tertiary health institutions by 70 per cent.
Adewole said: “The tertiary institutions are not meant to treat malaria or skin rashes, but to attend to critical issues.
“We are determined to take away over 70 per cent of patients from the teaching hospitals, but the heads of tertiary institutions must find a way to relate freely with this cadre for effective healthcare delivery.
“We won’t abandon that cadre so that the sequence of referral could be protected.”
Adewole condemned incessant strikes by doctors in federal health institutions, saying the Federal Government would no longer tolerate “coups” against chief medical directors (CMDs).
He said: “It is unfortunate that our national hospitals are better known for strikes, rather than services.
“The human factor is the most important; we should learn to put services above all other considerations in our agitations as medical practitioners because some of the cases I have handled in recent time were more of how to get more pay and not about commitment.
“Those engaging in the fuelling of crises in federal health institutions are those fighting to replace the present occupiers of the seats of CMDs. But I want to warn that they should wait for their time.”
Adewole lauded the FETHI boss for the success he had recorded and expressed satisfaction with the partnership and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Afe Babalola University (ABUAD).
Ayodele, who assured the agitated workers that all their dues would be paid, appealed to the Ministry of Health to grant the request for the payment of take off grants to the hospital as a former medical centre and for its new status as a teaching hospital.
Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, who was represented by the House of Assembly Speaker, Kola Oluwawole and Chief Afe Babalola, urged the FETHI authorities to find ways of ensuring industrial harmony in the hospital.
They appealed to the doctors, nurses and other paramedical workers to search their conscience and refrain from agitating for pay, even while on strike, describing the scenario as morally wrong.