Nigeria has been losing foreign exchange estimated at about $2bn yearly, due to loss of confidence in the nation’s health system, the Federal Government said on Thursday.
The government also expressed concern over what it described the lack of teamwork in as health sector, leading to the rivalry between medical doctors, pharmacists and other allied workers.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, represented by the Chief Medical Director of Jos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Edmund Banwat, made the disclosure at the 54th Annual Scientific Conference and workshop of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria in Jos with the theme, ‘Local vaccine formulation and production in Nigeria: Challenges, threats and opportunities.’
At the event, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, said the Federal Government had directed chief executives to fully implement all approved schemes of service and circulars affecting the career progression and conditions of service of medical laboratory scientists and their establishments.
The HoS, represented by the Director (Special Services) in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, James Olusoji, said “the directive was given in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice in the treatment of all staff in the public service of the federation in line with the intent of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I urge you all to always engage in dialogue in the resolution of issues with the management of your various workplaces, as incessant strikes in the public sector are counterproductive, especially in the health sector.
“There is the need also for all healthcare professionals to work in harmony with trust and due respect for each other’s expertise in promoting the health of the patients seeking their services”, Oyo-Ita stated.
Banwat said a key area of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was investment in people’s health.
He said, “Nigeria has over the last decades, sadly fallen behind in many areas of human and social endeavours, be it infrastructure, development, energy and transportation development, food production, quality of education, and healthcare delivery.
“Industrial production and manufacturing also almost totally collapsed, with increasing dependence on importation and reliance on export of raw material primary products. With regard to the health sector, Nigeria suffered foreign exchange drain of about $2bn yearly due to the loss of confidence in the health sector system.
“Among many manufacturing facilities that also became moribund during past administrations was a government-owned Yellow fever vaccine production laboratory in Yaba, Lagos.”