By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The continuous patronage of foreign medical services by President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his immediate family is a categorical message that the president, Muhammadu Buhari may be unwilling to bequeath enduring and sustainable legacies in the areas of building enduring and strategic health infrastructures which should put to an end to the wasteful ventures of tourism by government officials who fritter scarce foreign reserves to service their personal health challenges at public costs abroad”.
With the above affirmation, the leading Civil Rights Advocac Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described as shameful and regrettable the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to continue to travel to London, United Kingdom at serious costs to the tax payers to take care of his personal health needs.
The Rights group said the unwise choice of the President to patronize foreign health service providers in total rejection and disregard for the Nigerian indigenous health service professionals has shown that his administration is hypocritical about achieving any kinds of mileage in the area of rebuilding the near moribund health care sector of the Nation’s economy.
“For us we see this practice by President Buhari and members of his family and many other members of the political class as parasitic and a show of shame which demonstrates their lack of commitments to establish functional health care infrastructure to benefit millions of Nigerians. This constant medical tourism by the political class and especially by President Muhammadu Buhari shows that he does not mean well for the health care system in Nigeria and also demonstrates a lack of sensitivity to the health needs of millions of Nigerians who most times die from seemingly treatable diseases due to the collapse of public health care infrastructures all across the country”. The media Statement was endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf.
The Right group in the media statement emphasized that the frequent medical tourism of Mr. President shows that the Federal Ministry of Health right under the purview of President Muhammadu Buhari is simply gambling with the lives of millions of Nigeria’s since the President of the country and the appointing authority of the federal cabinet has nothing in stock on how to revive health care infrastructures.
HURIWA stated that it is is disconcerting that the Head of State and head of government of Nigeria will be showing bad example of glittering public funds abroad for his health challenges whilst pretending to be running a full fledge federal ministry of health with two ministers who draw salaries and allowances off public coffers yet the appointing authority of these ministers of Health has no faith in the capability of the managers of the Nation’s health sector which informs his constants globetrotting in search of health care services from foreign jurisdictions.
“HURIWA wishes to remind the current Federal Government that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire had on Monday, 7th December, 2020 in Abuja, unveiled the Nigeria’s health sector roadmap which he said was guided by the President’s “Health Sector Next Level Agenda” of 2019. It is a nine point, medium-term plan, to ramp up the push towards Universal Health Coverage.
“HURIWA recalled also that the health minister enumerated the agenda to include: implementation of Mandatory Universal Health Insurance in collaboration with State governments and the FCT Administration; Operationalization of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in collaboration with partners and agencies; Recruitment and deployment of 50,000 Community Health Extension Workers; Revamping Federal Teaching Hospitals across the country; Collaboration with Private Sector Investors to establish high-quality hospitals in Nigeria; Reduction of gaps in all health-related SDGs by at least 60%; Reduction in the current imbalance between primary, secondary, and tertiary health care; Active, collaboration with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths; and contribution to the realization of Mr. President’s June 12 promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. But as at today, what these frequent foreign health tourism by the President Muhammadu Buhari shows is that he has no definite road map for fixing the public healthcare sector hence he kept patronizing the British Health sector whereby Nigeria incurs huge financial burden that is not transparently communicated to the tax payers in Nigeria from where these huge financial obligations for the,President’s individual health expenses are met. This is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable “.
The Rights group said the practice of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria always going overseas for medical checks and services is a monumental security challenge and an unmitigated global shame to Nigeria which prides itself as one of the fastest growing economy in Africa. “This medical tourism of the Nigerian President shows that Nigeria is a giant with legs of clay”.