The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) also known as Pyrates Confraternity has berated President Muhammadu Buhari over his latest trip to the United Kingdom for a routine medical check-up.
In a statement titled “President Buhari’s Foreign Medical Trip: Symptom of a National Malady”, issued on Sunday, and signed by the NAS Capoon, Abiola Owoaje, the organisation said the trip was unethical and embarrassing, noting that the President was publicly signalling a vote of no confidence in the healthcare system of the country he presides over.
The group maintained that millions of Nigerians were left to the weak and inefficient healthcare system that the “President so visibly disdains”, since they cannot have foreign medical trips paid for from the public treasury.
“The timing of this latest medical tourism is tragically poignant, coming the same week the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) commenced an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with the association and meet other demands which include payment of entitlements as basic as hazard allowance for routine professional hazards and the extraordinary demands of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.
Owoaje slammed President Buhari for not being able to fulfil his campaign promise to revamp the country’s health sector and put a halt to medical tourism.
“In the six years that he has been in office, President Buhari has abysmally failed to make hospitals in Nigeria functional to the extent that it can be entrusted to handle his health and that of other top government officials.
“It is even more disappointing that the Aso Rock Clinic, the object of inexplicably huge budgetary allocations is demonstrably incapable of meeting the demands of the most senior resident of Aso Rock Villa,” Owoaje said.
He challenged Buhari to use the remaining years of his tenure to work for the improvement of the nation’s healthcare delivery system.
“He should as a matter of priority put efforts in motion, leading the charge and galvanising state governments across the country to ensure the upgrading of public healthcare facilities in the country in line with global best practices. His administration should summon the required will and mobilise the needed funds to address the structural problems in Nigeria’s healthcare ecosystem.
“These include the conducive working environment, improved infrastructure, tools, eliminating the ongoing brain drain, improving the welfare of medical and healthcare workers in the country as well as strengthening the organic link between primary, secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare,” he added.
“President Buhari’s preoccupation, as he enters the sixth year out of his eight-year tenure, should be how to develop Nigeria’s healthcare system such that no President after him would need to travel out of the country for a routine medical check-up. Nigerians want a leader who would inspire confidence in the country’s health facilities. President Buhari should strive to be such a leader if he cares about the verdict of history.”