Healthcare must be priority, overhauled – says Dr Ogbalu, premier African graduate of Community Medicine

Healthcare must be priority, overhauled – says Dr Ogbalu, premier African graduate of Community Medicine

*wants Buhari to see, correct his missteps especially on CJN

From Chuks Moses, Awka

The Federal Government has been urged to prioritize the health sector and get it completely overhauled without further delays.

The advice was dropped by a medical expert, Dr Mike Ogbalu, the pioneer African among the first 40 students to study Community Medicine at Manchester University, United Kingdom.

Dr Ogbalu who was granted a special Government scholarship by the then Head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon, recollected how he was approached by the authorities of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to return home to teach more people.

However, he appealed to them to allow him report back to the Federal Ministry that sponsored his studies. So he waited for deployment and none came, he was then forced to take up the teaching appointment.

Speaking in an exclusive interview at his Enugu home, the health expert who retired more than a decade ago said the health sector has completely collapsed, which has now forced even the middle class citizens to now seek healthcare overseas.

“It’s sad that all Nigerians annually and almost daily troop overseas -Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Dubai, India, England and United States of America on medical tourism. It breaks my heart…”, he said.

“I recently visited few Federal and state health facilities, some of them were where I had worked many years ago. I was shocked to find only about three security and two cleaners on duty at about 3pm. They told me that things have deteriorated and continues to discourage patients from coming at all. They said it was doubtful if the Ministry was still in control of activities.

“So we need to overhaul the sector in the interest of the masses who do not enjoy the luxury of foreign medical tourism. A proper restructuring of the sector will definitely bring in the best approach to bring the services to international standard.”

On politics, Ogbalu appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to take the bold step of restoring the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria -Walter Onnoghen, so as to stem the public outcry that has taken over the nation’s polity since his ouster.

“It takes a man with a large heart to acknowledge his misstep, apologize and correct same then move on,” he added.

He blamed some of the presidential aides who surround Buhari for advising him selfishly to the detriment of the entire nation adding that they make him appear as unrepentant military dictator.

“He is expected to now be a civilian leader, but we have observed he still sees himself as a military dictator whose words are laws and inviolable. It’s worrisome,” he said.

The medical chief admitted “there is so much insecurity in the land and it’s not relenting, contrary to the 2015 campaign promises by his All Progressives Congress that they would take citizens to eldorado. We hope it won’t breakdown more than this.”

On his advice to voters as the Feb 16, 2019 fast draws near, Dr Ogbalu noted that it’s been a very unhappy era under APC, hence every eligible voter must be guided by their conscience as they step out to cast their ballot in the coming general election.

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