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Gbaja: Before COVID-19, we didn’t have a health sector

Gbaja: Before COVID-19, we didn’t have a health sector
February 25
22:16 2021

Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, says Nigeria’s health sector was relatively non-existent prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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He stated this on Thursday while receiving a report on a sectoral roundtable session on healthcare delivery system, organised by the house committee on media and public affairs.

The report, titled: ‘Green Book’, is a documentation of sectorial engagements that provide solutions on how to reposition and reform the health sector in the country.

While noting that even the health systems of advanced nations have felt the impact of the coronavirus, Gbajabiamila said in the case of Nigeria, the pandemic “brought out the underbelly of the country”.

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The speaker, however, said the country has been able to rise to the challenges in the health sector.

“We all said it here, that the whole world was thrown into disarray with the advent of the COVID-19; even the most advanced democracies and the most developed health sectors did not know what to do. They were caught napping,” he said.

“In our case in Nigeria, it brought out the underbelly of the country. We did not even have a health sector. We only had a semblance of a health sector, and I am very happy we were able to rise up to the challenges.

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“It is not what will be fixed in one or two or three years. The deficit is so wide that it will take a number of years to fix it, but the most important thing is that we have started and we are on the right track. I believe if we continue on this track, Nigeria will get there at some point.

“Within two weeks, I inspected two major facilities in Lagos, a cancer centre — you need to go there; you cannot find anything better in the world — and another hospital in Lekki, and I’m opening another one in April.

“So, out of the pandemic, something has come up that is of immense benefit to Nigerians. It is unfortunate that it took that long. But it is one thing to be caught napping and not do anything about it, and it is another thing to be caught napping and fix the problem. That is what exactly we are trying to do.

“I thank the world team that brought this to fruition. I hope this partnership will endure and will not be a one-off thing. I hope it is going to be a symbiotic relationship between the house and the private sector.”

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On his part, Benjamin Kalu, chairman of the committee, said the document will reposition the health sector.

He added that the committee will continue in its mandate to promote relevant laws that will impact lives positively.

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