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World Health Day: Nigeria needs to invest more aggressively in health sector, says Obi

World Health Day: Nigeria needs to invest more aggressively in health sector, says Obi
April 07
15:09 2024

Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, says Nigeria needs to invest more aggressively in the health sector.

In a statement to commemorate the 2024 World Health Day, Obi said health remains critical to human development.

He noted that as one of the critical measures of the human development index, health contributes immeasurably to the development of the humans and the progress of a nation.

He said Nigeria’s “poor investment” in the health sector has continued to manifest in many ways.

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“Our obvious neglect of our health sector, especially the primary health sector has continued to result in so many unpleasant outcomes for the nation,” he said.

“With Nigeria ranking 14th out of the 18 African countries with poor health systems and also ranking 157th out of the 167 countries measured on health systems, we need to invest more aggressively in the health sector.

“We are today, among the countries with the highest infant mortality rates. The current life expectancy in Nigeria is 56 years, obviously among the lowest in the world.

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“Healthcare in Nigeria is increasingly becoming out of the reach of most Nigerians due to its high cost.

“Our budget of N1.3 trillion for the health sector, in a country of about 218 million people, is still not enough to make a serious impact in the sector and still falls below the 15 percent commitment specified in the 2001 Abuja Declaration.

“With the continual decline in our health sector, we need to make more aggressive investments that will improve the lives of the people.

“Aside the negative impacts on the citizens of our lack of investment in the health sector, the attendant capital flight arising from health tourism remains worrisome.

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“It is reported that Nigerians spend over $1.5bn on Medical Tourism Annually. Such a volume of funds, if retained in our economy would have impacted positively on the nation and helped us to save the much-needed foreign exchange.”

He added that the World Health Day presents another opportunity for leaders to reflect on their vision and prioritise investment in critical areas of human development for the ultimate good and development of the nation.

“The resources wasted on frivolities and unnecessary expenditure should now be invested in health, education and pulling people out of poverty. Our vision in New Nigeria is to build a healthy and productive nation, and it is possible,” he added.

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