Thursday, October 20, 2016 6:30 pm
The House of Representatives in Abuja on Thursday raised expressed concern over shortage of vaccine for polio, tuberculosis and tetanus in the country.
The House urged the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on primary healthcare, saying that the vaccine shortage had put millions of children and other Nigerians at risk.
The call followed a motion entitled “Urgent Need to Avert a National Crisis through Revitalisation and Adequate Funding of Primary Healthcare Systems” by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo).
The lawmakers said that government’s intervention in the primary healthcare delivery was inevitable as donor agencies were gradually withdrawing from funding vaccine procurement.
The lawmakers also sought the implementation of 2011 Abuja Declaration, which mandated all African countries to allocate 15 per cent of their annual budget to healthcare delivery.
Moving the motion earlier, Okafor expressed concern that millions of lives were at risk, hence the need for Federal Government’s intervention.
He explained that there was need for government to ensure that adequate budgetary allocation was made for important services, including vaccines for newborn and children under five at Primary Healthcare Centre (PHCs).
The lawmaker said that about 90 per cent of the 34,000 PHCs across the country were not fully functional.
He said that the country’s high infant and maternal mortality rate and the high disease burden could be traced to the poor state of the health centres.
“The country is already witnessing the manifestation of a weak primary healthcare system like the sporadic outbreak of cholera in parts of the South-East and the Northern zones of the country.
“The new cases of Lassa fever in the South-South and now, the resurgence of polio in the North-East which threatens to spread to other parts of Nigeria.
“Urgent measures should be taken to address the matter,’’ he said.
Contributing to the motion, Reps. Bode Ayorinde (APC-Ondo), Mojeed Fijabi (APC-Oyo), Diri Douye (Bayelsa-PDP) and Austine Jones Onyereri (Imo-APC) called for sustained investment to revitalise the primary healthcare system.
According to them, it will be of great benefit to rural dwellers.
After a unanimous adoption of the motion, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Yussuf Lasun, who presided, directed that it should be transmitted to the Committee on Health Services for further action.
The committee was given four weeks to submit the report.