The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has urged government at all levels to fix the health sector by declaring a state of emergency in the industry.
The association made the call in a statement signed by its President, Mr Kadiri Aruna, in Enugu on Wednesday.
This, the association said is to meet citizens’ health demands and expectations.
It noted that the healthcare facilities in the country were in deplorable state.
NANS further decried the conditions of service for the medical and healthcare personnel, urging for improved facilities and work environment.
According to the association, the endless complaint about poor funding in the health sector is a shame.
“This is why there is high rate of maternal and child mortality in the country and it is an embarrassment of unimaginable proportions to all of us as Nigerians,’’ he said.
It demanded for dramatic increase in funds’ provision for the healthcare sector at least, from single digit percentage point of the budget to a double.
NANS said there was a need to improve on the welfare package for health workers to halt the mass exodus of Nigeria’s competent hands in healthcare delivery.
“We challenge government at all levels to live up to their responsibilities, especially in areas of providing affordable and quality healthcare services to all Nigerians regardless of class.
“The current situation where some class continue to flock foreign countries to seek medical care while the poor are left with no other option than to probably die or simply vegetate is a sad commentary on the level of leadership responsibility in Nigeria, a country that is supposed to be the giant of Africa.
“NANS says turning this around depends on a responsible and committed leadership, which get its priorities right.
“The demand for increased benchmark funding of the health sector is, therefore, totally in order.
“The danger, if government fails to do the right thing, is that Nigeria, already unhealthy economically, may become a comprehensively unhealthy nation, in which the citizens have very poor medical care too,’’ he said.
It lamented the death of a former NANS president, Mr Mohammed Dauda, to an illness which ordinarily could have been treated in the country.
Dauda died an avoidable death on his way for medical attention in India on Oct. 1.
NANS recalls that the recent statement by the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on the state of Aso Clinic brings into stark reality the fate of many Nigerians, who are left with no other means than to patronise public healthcare facilities in the country.