In a passionate plea for immediate action, the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) in Nigeria has sounded a dire warning that the nation’s healthcare system teeters on the brink of collapse.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, the chairperson of HSRC, Mrs. Chika Offor delivered this stark message, lamenting the loss of lives and deeming the situation unacceptable. As a pivotal healthcare watchdog, the HSRC is deeply concerned about the state of the nation’s healthcare.
She particularly highlighted the tragic death of Ms. Greatness Olorunfemi as emblematic of a deeply flawed healthcare and emergency care system. This is despite the introduction of the National Health Act in 2014, an initiative that the HSRC had fervently championed with promises of healthcare improvements.
Offor pointed out that economic barriers have historically plagued the nation’s health sector, contributing to a significant disease burden and high mortality rates. The National Health Act was introduced to bring about much-needed positive changes, including the establishment of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and its associated gateways, such as the Emergency Management Treatment (EMT) gateway.
Unfortunately, she revealed that crucial systems like the Emergency Management Treatment (EMT) gateway have remained dormant since 2019, a situation that she described as catastrophic.
While acknowledging the progress made in certain regions, such as Lagos State, Offor criticised the inaction in other areas, notably the critical Federal Capital Territory (FCT). She declared that such inertia is a failure to fulfil their duty and emphasised that obstacles must be addressed to advance the path toward universal health coverage.
The HSRC sent an urgent plea to the government, the media and private sector stakeholders, demanding immediate action. The body highlighted the need for timely information dissemination and the equipping of health and security agencies to enforce laws and guidelines, as well as increased security measures in vulnerable areas as crucial elements to ensure the safety of citizens.
Furthermore, it called for the engagement of all government arms in providing swift and immediate medical aid. it urged the elimination of policies that hinder citizens’ access to emergency treatment and stressed the importance of raising nationwide awareness. “Every Nigerian should be informed of their rights to emergency medical care,” Offor insisted.
The body further called for the establishment of feedback channels for citizens to voice their concerns, involving traditional and religious sectors and the National Orientation Agency (NOA). “Coordinated care without delays is deemed essential, along with the training and re-training of healthcare providers in delivering quality care, Offor stated.
She cited the activation of the National Emergency Medical Ambulance System (NEMSAS) as a priority to prevent further tragedies and implored the media to give this emergency the urgency it deserves, as the safety and health of all Nigerians hang in the balance.
The HSRC emphatically stated that the time for talk was over and action was urgently required to rescue Nigeria’s failing healthcare system.