Expert blames poor health sector on years of neglect


Abimbola Abatta

Renowned virologist, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, has cited years of blatant neglect as reason for the poor health care delivery in Nigeria.

Professor Tomori disclosed this on Monday while speaking with Nigerian NewsDirect.

Speaking on where Nigeria got it wrong in terms of health care delivery, he said, “Getting it wrong for us in the health sector resulted from years of blatant neglect of the sector.

“We are paying, in sickness and deaths, for the years of neglect of the health sector,” he added.

He averred that the increase in the 2022 budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of health compared to last year’s budget is a step in the direction.

It should be noted that in 2021, the budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of health was N549bn while N711bn was earmarked for the ministry in the 2022 budget.

According to Prof. Tomori, “This is a step in the right direction. Any budgetary increase is some good news. However, more important is ensuring that allocated get used for intended purposes.

“Indeed the health sector has COVID-19 to thank, as the sector received substantial supplementary budget allocation in 2021. One wished that the increased funding to the health sector, through COVID-19, was used for sustainable development of the  health sector.”

He noted further that “indeed, surveillance for other diseases are being neglected, even as people are avoiding health facilities for fear.”

To tackle the recurring issue of vaccine inequality, Prof. Tomori said, “One solution, is for our country to aggressively procure sufficient COVID-19 doses for use of people.

“Secondly, we need to increase public awareness on the benefits of getting the vaccines,” he added.