Thursday, October 29, 2015

Treating Minor Ailments Abroad Shameful – Jega

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has described as ‘shameful,’ the travelling of Nigerians to foreign countries to receive treatment for ailments that should have been handled in the country.

Jega, who also decried the high case of infant and maternal mortalities in the country, blamed the situation on poor state of the country’s health sector and urged the incoming Health minister to rise up to the challenges.
The former INEC boss made the remarks on Tuesday during the Investiture and Award Night of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy in Lagos where 22 new fellows were inducted. Jega was honoured with a Life Achievement Award in the event.

He said drug abuse, especially among youths, had become a disturbing phenomenon that required urgent attention from professionals of the academy and other relevant stakeholders.
He said, “It is a great honour to be given an Academy of Pharmacy Life Achievement Award. I have nothing but commendation for the academy. I urged the academy and the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria to give serious attention to the way and manner that drugs that ought to be prescription drugs are being sold over the counter and these are doing a lot of damage to our youths because some of these drugs are addictive. I urge pharmacists to begin to pay attention to ethical issues associated with selling prescription drugs over the counter.

“Our country needs progress in many fundamental areas and the health sector in particular is very important. If you look at the health statistics, whether infant mortality or maternal mortality, our incidences are very high and we need to do something very fast. So, I hope we are going to get a very good Minister of Health who can pay attention to how to address some of these challenges and generally reposition the Health sector so that Nigeria can become a leading country in terms of health provision.

“It is shameful that most Nigerians have to go abroad for ailments that ought to be easily treated in this country. The government has a responsibility to create a policy framework and enabling environment to ensure that these challenges are adequately addressed.”
He however dedicated the award to members of staff of INEC and voters, who he said, contributed to the success of the 2015 general elections, adding that he inherited a commission with a bad image.
When asked how confident he was in the ability of the new INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, to consolidate on his (Jega’s) achievement at the commission, he parried the question, saying, “That is for another day.”

He also declined comments on why some results in the last elections were being thrown out by tribunals, despite that, he was commended for raising the standard of election in Nigeria.
The former Head of State, who is the guest of honour at the event, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, lauded Jega on the last elections, adding that the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari doused the anxiety in the country.

He said, “I congratulate Prof. Attahiru Jega for conducting free and fair elections. Before the elections, there were fears that Nigeria was going to break in 2015. But Buhari’s victory took away the tension of Nigerians. I urge all of us to continue to work towards a stronger and more united Nigeria.”
Earlier in his speech, NAP President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, said the academy had made efforts to contribute to the field in areas of teaching and practice by organising a summit that brought experts from within and outside the country together.
Copyright PUNCH.

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