THE third Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has said over 4,765 Nigerian Doctors are currently working in the United Kingdom UK, which constitute 1.7 percent of the total of the UK’s medical workforce.
Chief Anyaoku disclosed this figures during the celebration of the 110th anniversary of the Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital and the launching of an ultramodern Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
In his anniversary speech, the elderly statesman, said Iyi-Enu Mission hospital Ogidi, has been no exception from the general decline of institutions throughout the country.
According to him, People of my age (85), feel nostalgia for the old days in the early years of our country’s independence. During that period, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, the Commonwealth ranked Nigeria 4th in the hierarchy of health sector efficiency countries. In fact, at that time, ours was a country that itself was attracting medical tourism on account of the quality of the services offered by the University Teaching Hospital Ibadan.
But today, it is lamentable that the federal government’s endorsement of the world Health Organization ( WHO), recommendation that 13 percent of the national budget should be allocated to the health sector, as well as the African Union’s Abuja declaration in 2001 that 15 percent of the national budget should be allocated to the health sector, only a paltry sum of between about 3.4 percent and 5.6 percent is allocated.
Anyaoku said the result of this ridiculously low budgetary allocation to the health sector over the years, combined with what is often referred to as “the Nigerian factor”, has been that the Nation is assailed with ill-equipped hospitals that have very low grade facilities.Indeed, most of our hospitals have been reduced to mere consulting clinics. Recently, we had a big shock to the national Psyche when it was revealed that even the Aso Rock Clinic that attends to the Nation’s highest political leaders and their families was completely lacking in basic facilities like drugs and even syringes.
It is, therefore no surprise that when he visited Nigeria recently, Bill Gates, the Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in criticising Nigeria for spending relatively far too little on the development of its human capital, pointed to the nation’s health sector alongside the education sector as some of the most neglected.
Bill Gates was quoted as saying that Nigeria is one of the most of dangerous places in the world to give birth with the fourth worst maternity rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad, and that one in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished.
The former International Diplomat further that the Bill Gates testimonial for the Nigerian health sector is not at all comforting, not when Nigeria is mentioned as having the worst maternal mortality rate in the league of countries that have experienced long periods of devastating Civil wars, and have no comparable human and materials resources like Nigeria. Yet, Nigeria’s dismal record and bad reputation in the health sector cannot come to anybody as a surprise, not when highly qualified Nigerian Doctors are voting with their feet, fleeing and abandoning the country in droves to work abroad.
He then commend the authority of Iyi-Enu Hospital under the great leadership of the Bishop on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Owen Nwokolo, for accepting the challenge of restoring Iyi-Enu Hospital to its past glory. But in this highly desirable restoration, I enjoin the management to take seriously, the importance of specific training of technicians for the maintenance of the sophisticated diagnostic, dialysis and the MRI equipments that are installed.
The event was grace by Very Important Personality (VIP), which include, Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, Osita Chidoka, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the State Commissioner for Information, C. Don Adinuba, the Traditional Ruler of Ogidi, Igwe Alex Uzu Onyido among others.
And the vote of thanks was conducted by Ven. Chris Amaku, the Hospital administrator.