The Hon. Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa recently paid oversight visits to some Federal Government Health Institutions in Lagos to assess the state of their facilities, see what they are doing well, know their challenges and how better these institutions can be supported to ensure better healthcare outcomes for the citizenry.
Dr. Alausa whose first port of call was to the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), was impressed with some of the state of the art equipment’s he saw at the institute and stated that research and innovation is one of the key priority area that this administration will be focusing on, owing to the fact that Mr. President is determined to fix the health care system.
He charged the Director General NIRM, Prof. Babatunde Salako and his team on the need to function effectively and diligently to strengthen research in the country. “To strengthen our healthcare system, we have to strengthen research, if we strengthen research we will innovate, any country that does not innovate remains undeveloped”.
The Minister said the issue of inadequate funding would be addressed to further enhance the capacity of the institute, he promised to ensure that the institute receives substantial budget to tackle critical areas. He went further to advise that
NIMR source for funds from international research agencies and grant agencies to improve on research, noting that he is determined to resuscitate research infrastructure in Nigeria.
Addressing the Management of the Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital (FNPH) Yaba, led by the Medical Director, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye, Dr. Alausa decried the increasing rate of the menace of substance abuse and reiterated government’s commitment in tackling drug abuse and strengthening mental health services.
“Substance abuse is a huge problem in Nigeria, we need to focus more attention on substance abuse issues, awareness, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, and I am glad FNPH Yaba is taking a leading role here”.
He promised to look into some of the challenges highlighted by the helmsmen, especially the issue of human resource for health, which the Minister said is a global crisis. He assured of governments intervention in the enrolment of health workers especially doctors and nurses and beckoned on Nigerians to be patient because this government is committed to fixing the health system in the shortest
“I have meet with the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and in the next academic year we will double the enrolment rate of doctors and dentist from 5,000 to 10,000. I also had a meeting with the Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, they have done some good things in the past 2 to 3 years, it started with about 6,000 nurses graduating annually, and then it
got to a point that we were graduating about 23,000 but that’s still small for the kind of population that we have. I have mandated him to put a plan together in the next 12 to 24 months to increase our production from about 50,000 to 80,000 nurses annually”.
On the issue of energy and high cost of power supply at the institutions, Dr. Alausa promised to look into it by involving the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs who promised to support with alternative energy.
The Minister went further to say that, he would ensure that all pending waivers are approved and expedited at the Office of the Head of Service as well as meet with the Ministry of Budget and Economy Planning to make certain that the issue of overhead releases, gets better.
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