A chieftain of the All Progressives ongress (APC), Mr Pastor Sunday Adebayo Babalola, has appealed to the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, to upscale Nigeria’s health care system.
He also urged the Kwara State Government currently under Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq to improve the state’s health care services.
According to him, it is imperative for the Federal Government to provide modern and more equipment, and improve the working condition and welfare of health care workers and professionals in Nigeria.
Babalola, who was a governorship aspirant in Kwara State during the 2011 and 2015 electioneering process, lamented that the nation’s health care system was not salutary.
He added that Kwarans should have a better health care system.
According to him, many Nigerians have died of treatable diseases and ailments, adding that the FG should invest more in the nation’s health sector.
The politician alleged that the state of public health care delivery in Kwara State was appalling and urged Abdulrasaq, to energize the state’s health care delivery.
He stated that there should be improved, efficient, and accessible health care delivery for Kwara State residents and indigenes, adding that they deserve better health care services.
Babalola, the sponsor of Sunday Babalola Health Outreach, stated that with better health care delivery, Nigerians, including Kwara residents, will enjoy a better standard of living and be more productive.
He explained that the health outreaches, which covered four local government areas in Kwara South, Kwara North, and Kwara Central Senatorial Districts, were aimed at sensitizing, enlightening, and educating the rural dwellers on the imperative of ensuring adequate medical check up and maintaining hygiene.
According to him, the beneficiaries include some members of Gaa Akanbi, Biada and Oniganka communities in Ilorin South Local Government of Kwara Central; Aare Opin, Osi Community and Oke Opin from Ekiti LGA; Odo-Owa in Oke-Ero LGA of Kwara South and Patigi, Tankpafu and Garogi of Patigi LGA in Kwara North.
He explained that the outreaches featured health education, basic medical tests, distribution of resource medical fliers, and distribution of exercise books.
The philanthropist stated that during the International Civil Defence Day 2021, they empowered five widows of the deceased officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps each with a grinding machine, in response to the request of the Civil Defence Officers’ Wives’ Association.
He explained that the empowerment was done through Bayo and Bunmi Babalola Foundation, which he and his wife, Bunmi, founded.
Alhaji Sule Adamu who represented Babalola informed the audience that philanthropist had placed some aged people on monthly salary, adding that he did that to ensure their survival and comfort.
He stated that his investments and that of his wife on people’s welfare were not because they are very wealthy but that they have the empathy and heart to serve the people.
Babalola said, “I am calling on the federal and state governments to upscale health services in the nation in general and Kwara State, in particular, respectively.
“I am not satisfied with the state of public health institutions in Kwara State. The assessment of public health institutions or public medicare delivery in the state is appalling. Nothing much is working. Worldwide, where things are working, people will prefer to go to general hospitals. But you see people now running to private hospitals. That is an indictment or a testimonial of what is happening. If the general hospitals were good, people would have stayed there and remained there. They are not.
“We discovered that healthwise, Kwarans are suffering. And we thought within ourselves, what can we do in our own little way to help our people? We can not do elaborate medicare for all the people; that will take a lot of personnel and resources. But we did what we could, which is a basic medical examination. That is the problem we can help solve. We decided we will be doing it community by community within some communities in Kwara Central, Kwara South, and Kwara North. That covered about five local government areas.
“My people did a very good job and the villages and townships were really very happy. We wish we had more money to do more because our thinking was that if we could discover the health challenges of our people early, they can be picked from the root and they will not be able to pose a greater challenge for those individuals in the future.
“Earlier, on we had done eye tests in many communities. This is what we have been doing. We have doctors, and nurses with us. Once we discovered the problem with the person, the professionals advised the individual, gave medicine, and advise the person to keep visiting his or her normal doctors, either in general hospitals or government hospitals which sadly are more of consulting clinics in Kwara State today. So sadly! What we have been doing is to contribute our own quota to helping the people.”
Babalola called on relevant authorities to ensure that the National Health Insurance Scheme improved on its services.
According to him, such a scheme is efficient in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and some other countries.
He said, “ I am not indicting the Federal Government or state government or both, but all of them could have done better.
There are ways to go about this thing. How are they doing NHIS in the UK and US? They should be able to arrange such that even when you go to private hospitals, it will be like going to a general hospital because somebody will pay for it because he or she has insurance. The insurance is not working. They would have done better, both federal and state government.”
He said it was unpalatable that many people now rely on private hospitals for their medicare because of the alleged poor service delivery in some government hospitals.
He, however, said it is more expensive to access quality health care services in private hospitals, adding that many Nigerians are financially impoverished to foot the bill and sadly many of them die of treatable or curable ailments.
Babalola said, “It is more expensive relying on private health care delivery because the services are not available in (public health care system). If they are available and people are more in the public health sector, the private health centers will have fewer people and their services will also be cheaper and more efficient. If the public health centers are efficient, it will drive the prices of the private health centers down and it will drive their efficiency upward. You find a lot of quacks doing a lot of nonsense.
Quacks are in place because the real things are not working. If the private hospitals are properly regulated and the public hospitals are working well, the efficiency in both sides will be optimal.”