How Buhari’s foreign medical trips promote neglect of health systems – Falana
A labour and civil society coalition group, Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, ASCAB, led by human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, says President Mohammadu Buhari’s frequent medical trips to the United Kingdom (UK), has assaulted Nigeria’s National Health Act and is promoting health systems neglect by his administration.
A statement signed by Falana on Wednesday, observed that it was contradictory for billions of Naira to be allocated to the health sector and other huge amount credited to the Presidential Clinic in Aso Rock while president Buhari embarks on foreign trips for medical care.
Similarly, Falana stated that while the tragic deaths of human rights activists, Mr Yinka Odumakin and Innocent Chukwuma were due to poor state of Nigerian healthcare, millions of other Nigerians in rural and urban areas would live in the country if hospitals were equipped and funded for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
He further stated that it is shameful for a Nigerian president to travel abroad for healthcare 60 years after independence.
“Such a situation confirms that Nigeria cannot guarantee the health of her president even while the country can boast of a rainbow of experts and teaching hospitals that have been left to rot away.
“The president of Nigeria visiting the United Kingdom, for healthcare 60 years after independence is a shame. It confirms that Nigeria cannot guarantee the health of her president even while the country can boast of a rainbow of experts and Teaching Hospitals that have been left to rot away,” he said, adding that Buhari’s action violated the constitution of the country.
“The total neglect of public healthcare in Nigerian has seen millions of people lose their lives from preventable deaths. While many people die in millions every year, armed and defenceless people, rich and poor suffer from the tragic neglect of the Nigerian health sector by the Federal and state governments. The latest known victims are Yinka and Innocent, two people that were reputed for immense sacrifices in the pro-democracy campaigns but have to die due to government’s poor funding of the health sector and corruption at all levels.
“President Buhari had consistently breached the law as his medical treatment and check-up in the United Kingdom has not been recommended by a Medical Board approved by the Minister of Health in line with Section 46 of the National Health Act.
“For Buhari to leave the country at a time of national strike by doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), shows his disdain for the health sector, knowing that he and his family like many top government officials depended on foreign hospitals for the healthcare at public expense.”
ASCAB expressed full support for the strike embarked upon by NARD and Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), saying the demands of the medical and judicial workers were driven by patriotism and the need to protect the integrity of the country.