By Mike Ubani
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has called for the involvement of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), in the upgrading of health-care delivery system in the country.
The minister, who made this call while delivering a keynote address at a one-day conference on national health held in Enugu, suggested that the private sector should participate fully in the building and management of world class hospitals in the country.
He said that Nigerian investors both at home and in the diaspora, should be provided incentives including tax holidays to establish hospitals in many parts of the country.
“Every effort should be made to encourage the private sector to invest in the health sector. Such hospitals will then compete with public hospitals so that our citizens can get improved and best available service,” the minister said
Dr. Onu who spoke on the theme: National Health: Technology as a bridge for health security, socio-economic stability and brain grain, at the conference organized by the Millennium Centre for Training and Leadership MCTL), said nations across the world that had made rapid development in recent times, did so through effective application of technology.
“The effective linkage between science and technology with a good health-care delivery system is such that throughout human history, the nation leading the world at any given time has always had about the best hospitals, attracting the sick from other parts of the world.
“It is important to stress that science and technology provide the proper nutrition and vaccines needed to prevent sickness.
“When people are sick, they require the care of properly trained medical personnel such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, medical laboratory technologists…
“Also, to adequately equip the hospitals with the necessary machines, equipment and tools will require technology.
“The drugs and medicine needed to treat the sick are products of science and technology,” he said.”
The former Governor of old Abia State, therefore, called for effective utilization of science and technology in the health-care delivery system in the country.
He appealed to medical professionals not to go abroad to seek greener pastures, saying that given the ongoing rehabilitation and reforms in the health sector, “we’ll create the suitable environment as found in most technologically developed countries.”
Earlier in his address, President of MCTL, Prince Okey-Joe Onuakalusi, said the conference was meant to provide an opportunity to examine the form and substance of issues affecting the country’s health sector, with a view to providing solutions to those problems.
He called on the Federal Government to give priority attention to the health sector, saying that the three tiers of government should increase their budgetary allocations to the health sector to at least 15% of the total annual budget of the country
The Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, described technology as an indispensable tool for national development, and thanked MCTL for organizing the event.
The occasion was attended by renowned scholars including Prof. Badsen Onwubere, Prof. E. Ejim, Prof. I. Onwuekwe, Dr. N. M Igwe.
Others were Prof. Obasi Igwe, Dr. Uche Unigwe, Dr. (Pharm) Maureen Nwafor, and Comrade Ezekiel Omeh.