The new Minister for Health, Professor Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu, has been called to use his good offices to improve on the nation’s health indices as he assumes office.
The Tide, gathered that the charge, which was contained in a congratulatory message by Mr. Abiola Adebayo to the new Minister, also expressed the hope that Professsor Chukwu, a respected medical practitioner, would bring his wealth of experience to bear on Nigeria’s health sector and lift it to enviable heights.
Adebayo, a pharmacist and executive director, of a leading healthcare company in Nigeria, while referring to the United Nations Human Development Index, lamented the situation in which is Nigeria currently ranked among 12 countries in the world with the highest under-five mortality rate. He thus enjoined the new Minister to initiate actions that would improve the health indices of the country.
According to him, “Currently more than one million children under five years of age die annually in this country. Nearly one third of children under five years of age are underweight; malaria still accounts for over 65 per cent of outpatient attendance in hospitals and 10 per cent death rate. With 59,000 annual maternal deaths, Nigeria ranks next to India with 117,000.
“Primary Healthcare Centres, which spread across the country only cater for less than 20 per cent of their potential patients,” Adebayo noted and expressed worry over the 4.5 per cent prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
He, therefore, called on the health ministry to “collaborate with genuine indigenous or local manufacturers of Anti-retroviral drugs in Nigeria that have been certified and registered by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).”
This, he said would not only assist in the control and management of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, but “ would also help generate more jobs for Nigerians and stimulate economic growth” in the country.
He also called on the new health minister to ensure that all the professional groups in the health sector work together as a team.