President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed past leaders, especially the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, for neglecting the health sector between 2010 and 2015.
The President made the statement on Thursday while delivering his speech at the 58th Annual Delegates Meeting and scientific conference of the Nigeria Medical Association in Abuja.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, said when the global price of crude oil was over $100 per barrel per day, the Jonathan administration failed to seize the opportunity to invest in the health sector.
Speaking at the event with the theme, ‘Quality Healthcare: An Indicator of Good Governance; the President said investments in public health care must be improved.
He said paying for health care from budgets would not be able to improve the health sector unless other concerned parties and donor agencies augment government’s efforts.
Buhari said, “It is no longer news that we inherited a troubled health care sector and the sector has been troubled for a long time. As one of the manifestations of the severely low spending on infrastructure generally and in health care in particular, I think that what we have seen through the years is a scandalously low level of funding for public health care in Nigeria.
“The level of public sector investment in health care in our recent past has in no way reflected our earnings, the high oil earnings, especially in the period between 2010 and 2015. That was when we earned the highest from oil prices.”
The President added that insurgency in the North-East which started in the period further brought the health sector to its knees with the attendant impact on the level of immunisation and availability of medical personnel.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said there was a need for focus to be shifted to primary health care centres and not the secondary and tertiary institutions.
Saraki further stated that the National Health Act would be fully implemented even as he revealed that the budget would be ready in a few days.