The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has blamed the foundation of healthcare in the country for the deteriorating conditions of hospital facilities across the country.
The Senate had summoned Adewole to appear before it on Tuesday over what the Senate President Bukola Saraki called the poor state of infrastructure that has contributed to deaths of Nigerians in need of health care.
Speaking before the Senate on Tuesday, Adewole said, “Over the last couple of years, we have had a challenge.
“We can describe the health care as a pyramid, with Primary Health Care at the base, Secondary at middle and Tertiary at the top.
“Only 10% of Nigerians who require care would need to go to tertiary institutions.
“For them to function effectively, they depend on functional primary and secondary health care centres. If these two levels of care are functional, about 90% of ailments will be taken care of.
“For us in Nigeria, they represent the topmost and by design are expected to manage complex and complicated cases.
“We have 22 teaching hospitals in the country and 17 specialist hospitals under the direct body of the Federal Government.
“The teaching hospitals constitute the apex of health care in any country.
“We can compare it to a building — primary health as the foundation, the secondary as the wall and the tertiary as the roof.
“The problem we have is that the foundation is bad and the wall is weak and we are only concerned about the roof.
“If we invest in the Primary Health Care, a lot of people would not have a cause to go to the Tertiary.
“Your Excellency, I must commend you for approving the Basic Health Care Provision Fund. It is a game changer.
“We spent two years developing, and over the last two weeks, we’ve started to roll out.
“Twenty-two of our states have registered for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
“Our aim is to structure it in a way that money would flow from the Central Bank to the agencies.
“As of today, 14 states are yet to show interest in basic health care provision.
“We have two signatories to the account — the head of the community where it is located and the head of the facilities.
“Our aim is to offer free antenatal, free deliveries, screening for tuberculosis.
“I commend the Senate for the approval of the 1% primary healthcare inclusive in the Budget.
“Teaching hospitals cannot survive alone and in isolation. The State needs to partner with us so that secondary hospitals would be working.
“We believe that the issue of power supply should be looked into.”