The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described President Muhammadu Buhari’s scathing remark on overseas medical treatment as hypocrisy that is “self-indicting and raises public apprehensions on high-level deceits in governance.” The PDP dismissed as ridiculous, “a situation where a president, who patronises foreign hospitals for treatment and even check-ups; whose administration has failed to provide adequate healthcare in his country, could turn around to pontificate to other citizens against foreign treatment.”
In a statement by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said while it does not approve of proliferated medical tourism, especially by leaders and public office holders, “a leader who has failed to lead by example and whose government has neglected and wrecked our healthcare systems, lacks all rectitude to issue directives against foreign treatment. Consequently, the PDP urges President Buhari to show example by patronising a Nigerian public hospital on his next medical appointment so that he can experience the healthcare reality that our citizens have been subjected to under his government,” the statement noted.
Continuing, the PDP said: “Mr. President can then discover that our health system has suffered untold neglect under his watch, leading to dilapidated infrastructure, empty drug shelves, decrepit and worn-out equipment, brain drain and a demoralised workforce worse than his 1983 recollections.” The PDP noted that, “it is even more disheartening that all the investments and robust programmes of successive PDP administrations, including the comprehensive National Strategic Health Development Plan, Saving One Million Lives Initiatives and National Health Insurance Scheme, have been degraded and impaired by the dysfunctional APC administration.”
The statement recalled that “under the PDP administration, new technologies and modern medical equipment were available in most federal medical institutions where cases such as cancer, kidney, heart and brain ailments for which Nigerians are now mostly seeking overseas treatment were effectively handled in our country.”
It went on: “Our healthcare would have continued to flourish but for the disruption of PDP’s people-based healthcare programmes by the Buhari-led APC administration. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has now become the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of the corrupt cabal in the Buhari presidency, which has not been able to account for the looting of billions of naira saved for healthcare needs of Nigerians. Under the PDP administration, the dreaded Ebola outbreak was managed without grave consequences. If such medical emergency, God forbid, breaks out today, it would be devastating to our nation given the poor handling of our healthcare system by the APC administration.”
The PDP further claimed: “The APC administration’s neglect for our national health need is reflected in successive budgetary allocations under President Buhari. Even in the 2020 budget, only N427.3 billion (4.5% of the budget), is provided for the health need of over 186 million Nigerians. Indeed, this is not the way to go.” It charged the Nigerian leader to end his “rhetoric by taking concrete steps to improve on the nation’s healthcare system so that Nigerians can have access to adequate and affordable healthcare at all levels.”