PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said the Federal Government will redouble efforts to improve the provision of health facilities, equipment and services in the country.
He said the people living in rural areas would be given priority to access improved health services.
The President spoke on Thursday in his home town of Daura, Katsina State, at the inauguration of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Reference Hospital in the town.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, quoted the President as saying the Federal Government had, in the last four years, invested huge resources in the health sector.
The statement said it had increased budgetary allocation from N259 billion in 2015 to over N340 billion in 2018.
“Accordingly, significant strides have been made to life expectancy and reduced some of the killer diseases associated with child and maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030, as planned in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“Despite this, more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and many persistent and emerging health issues in our society,” President Buhari said.
The President said dependence on foreign countries for medical treatment could be reduced by turning around the nation’s Health sector.
He stressed that health services in the rural areas deserve more attention.
“To achieve this, we must now redouble efforts to focus on providing more efficient funding of the Health sector, improve sanitation and hygiene, and increase access to medical care in the rural areas in order to save lives of millions of Nigerians.
“There is, therefore, no more auspicious time to commission this Reference Hospital than now,” the President added.
President Buhari hailed the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for siting the hospital, which has state-of-art medical equipment for radio diagnosis, cancer screening, dialysis, laboratory diagnosis and research, in Daura, to serve the aligning states and communities.
“This hospital will minimise the need for people in these areas to travel to Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, or even overseas, to receive medical treatment.
“I urge you to maintain the highest standard and quality services the military is known for in attending to patients and the host community. Maintenance is central to efficiency and satisfactory service delivery,” the President said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa, said the project was conceived and implemented with personnel of the military and the community in mind to provide quality health services.
Abubakar said the 60-bed hospital has nine medical consultants, as well as 61 general medical practitioners and dentists.
“These developments have significantly enhanced the capacity of the medical services branch to provide quality healthcare to our personnel,” he said.
The Chief of Air Staff added that the hospital has ultra-modern operating theatres, an intensive care unit, medical laboratory, eye and dental clinics and a physiotherapy department.