President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Daura, Katsina State restated his administration’s commitment to improve health facilities, equipment and services in the country, saying rural dwellers will be given special attention for better healthcare.
Buhari said a turn around of the country’s health sector would reduce dependence on foreign countries for medical treatment, noting that health services in rural areas deserved better attention.
The President, who spoke at the commissioning of a 60-bed capacity Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital (NAFRHI) in Daura, said the Federal Government in the last four years invested huge resources in the health sector.
He explained that government achieved that with increased budgetary allocation from N259 billion in 2015 to over N340 billion in 2018.
“Accordingly, significant strides have been made in life expectancy and reduced some of the killer diseases associated with child and maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100, 000 live births by the year 2030, as planned in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs),” he stated.
President Buhari commended the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar for the Reference Hospital with state-of-art medical equipment for radio-diagnosis, cancer screening, dialysis, laboratory diagnosis and research in Daura to serve neighbouring states and communities.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mrs. Nuratu Batagarawa, said the project was conceived and implemented with military personnel and the community in mind to provide quality healthcare.
Speaking, Abubakar noted that the 60-bed capacity health facility has nine medical consultants, as well as 61 general medical practitioners and dentists.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has given reasons why Nigeria may not be able to stop Lassa fever (LF), Monkey pox and cholera outbreaks, even as it confirmed one death and 11 cases of Lassa fever in Edo, Ondo and Bauchi states.
To address the perennial Lassa fever outbreaks in the country, the NCDC said it was working with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and planning preliminary and preparatory studies on vaccine candidates this year in Nigeria.
CEPI is a public-private coalition that aims to derail epidemics by speeding up development of vaccines.
Besides, latest figures of Lassa fever outbreak in the country, published yesterday by the NCDC showed that in the reporting week 31 (July 29 and August 4, 2019), 11 new confirmed cases were reported in Edo (seven), Ondo (three), Bauchi (one) and one death in Ondo.
On why the outbreaks of the diseases have continued in spite of NCDC efforts, its Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, told The Guardian that it was difficult to eliminate the diseases where there is an animal host and where transmissions are carried by animals in humans without vaccines.
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