Dr. Peter Ezie, Founder, Junior Doctors of Africa, has called for increased funding of the health sector to check the rate of maternal and child mortality in the country.
He made the appeal in Abuja on Saturday while delivering a paper on ‘’Maternal and Child Mortality –The Nigerian Perspective”, at the Rotary Club of Abuja, Kubwa Gate Way District 9125 meeting.
Ezie, a Rotarian, who noted that Nigeria’s health budget hovers around seven percent, said the allocation was far from meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO) 15 percent of annual budgets to the health sector of member states.
He stressed the need for the three tiers of government in the country to gear up efforts in formulating and implementing policies and programmes that would further boost the health needs of the citizenry.
“A lot needs to be done where citizens can benefit from the effort of government in terms of improved healthcare delivery services in this country.
“If other countries are doing it, Nigeria can, all we need is enhanced political will.
“Funding holds key to an effective health sector and the well-being of the people, especially the mothers and the children who are the basis for the growth of the nation,’’ the physician said.
He said that hemorrhage accounted for 25 percent of mothers that died during labor and unsafe abortion account for 13 percent and 12 percent from eclampsia.
Other factors, according to Ezie are the delay at home, obstructed labor, delay at the hospital and malaria, adding that the need to reduce the statistics had become imperative.
Contributing, another Rotarian, Dr. Princewill Ozumba, identified corruption among some local government authorities as one of the factors responsible for slowing the desired progress in the health sector.
Ozumba said many local government chairmen were not utilizing the money meant for Primary Health Care (PHC) for the benefit of the populace at the grassroots.
According to him, 17 Chief Medical Directors are facing corruption investigations by the EFCC in respect of how they spent money allocated to their hospitals for healthcare services to the people.
“The people will not feel the impact of government, as it should in the health sector, with this kind of development,” he said.
He also identified lack of adequate skill and competence among health workers, especially medical doctors, as another factor impeding the realization of the efforts of government in the sector.
The President of the District, Mr. Festus Angbazue, said members of the district were out to use their resources and services to better a lot of other members of the society, especially the needy in the society.
He called on members not to relent in contributing to the development of the society in consonance with the philosophy of the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris (1868-1947), in the United States of America.
According to him, Rotary is aimed at encouraging and fostering the ideals of services as a basis of a worthy enterprise for the development of the society, among others.