CDHR tasks Buhari on affordable, accessible health care, decries foreign medical trips


Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) yesterday charged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government on the gross violation of the constitutional right to life of all Nigerians due to the poor state of health infrastructure in the country.
  
The group said this violation is responsible for the avoidable deaths of millions of citizens, especially the low and middle class, children, women and other vulnerable Nigerians.
  
In a statement issued by the National Executive Committee, signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Henry Peter Ekine and made available to The Guardian, CDHR also decried the prevalence of foreign trips for medical treatment by public office holders or members of the political class, sponsored with public fund at the expense of majority of Nigerians.

  
According to CDHR, the concept of right to life relates to the provision of functional health institutions and efficient and accessible health care system; hence the connection between the provisions of section 17 (3) (c) particularly (d) and section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
 
The foremost human rights group therefore called on the President and the Federal Government to immediately direct its policy towards the protection of the health, safety and welfare of all citizens and the actualisation of the objectives of adequate medical and health
facilities for all persons.
  
The Group condemned the disposition of the President and the Federal Government in neglecting the nation’s health institutions and infrastructure in preference for foreign medical trips, especially by the political class. It therefore called for immediate comprehensive overhaul of the health sector or consider a comprehensive inclusion of all Nigerians in a national programme that will provide opportunity for all citizens to be entitled to health
care or medical treatment abroad.
  
Ekine  in the statement argued that  such prevalence of foreign medical treatment by public office holders has been the single most worrisome factor responsible for the collapse and failure of the health sector and decay in health infrastructure in Nigeria. It stated “the many trips overseas for medical treatment by the political class, including the President and other public office holders, is a clear demonstration that the President and the Federal Government have no interest in the welfare and lives of Nigerians and development of the health sector.”
     
The  group  also observed that while the political class could easily access and fund medical care abroad, or could easily obtain Presidential fiat or express approval for immediate medical care abroad, just as recently graciously approved for Dr. Alex Ekwueme (former Vice President), though a kind and commendable gesture, the millions of Nigerians of low and middle class are usually left to their fate and their inability to fund foreign medical care; thus the rising level of avoidable deaths of vulnerable Nigerians, especially in the rural areas.



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