Poor healthcare system: Youths, students mobilise for nationwide protest, issue 14-day ultimatum

• Kick against purchase of COVID-19 vaccines

A coalition of Nigerian youths and students from various tertiary institutions on Thursday issued a 14-day ultimatum for the Federal and State governments to take urgent steps to fix the nation’s poor healthcare system or face nationwide protest.

They have also warned the Federal Government against spending the taxpayers’ money on buying of COVID-19 vaccines, arguing that the billions earmarked for the purchase of the vaccines should be used to fix the healthcare sector.

National President of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Comrade Solomon Adodo, read the communique to newsmen in Abuja at the of the First Nigerian Youth/Student Leaders meeting on the state of Nigerian Health Sector, where a resolution to mobilize youths, students and civil society organisations for the nationwide protest was taken.

He vowed that the youth would this time occupy the streets in a manner worse than the #EndSARS protest if nothing is done to address the demands of the youth coalition.

The communique was signed by the National President, Nigerian Youth Union (NYU), Comrade Chinonso Obasi; NYCN President; National President of National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), Comrade Sunday Asuku; National President; National Association of Colleges of Education Students (NACES), Comrade Mahmud Abubakar; National Secretary, Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Engr Mohammed Eneji; President, National Association of University Students (NAUS), Comrade Ijegalu Felix; and representatives of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone A, B, C.

Adodo said the youth were particularly angry to have discovered from findings that governors under the auspices of Nigerian Governors Forum have been resisting the efforts to build and equip more primary healthcare centres, particularly in the face of the current spike in COVID-19 cases and other attendant mysterious ailments.

He said this has painted the forum as an anti-masses and will be resisted by the Nigerian youth, students and civil society groups.

He said: “It should be made emphatically clear that the Nigerian youths and students leaders shall mobilize her members and Nigerians for a national protest after 14 days if no proactive action is taken to guarantee a better, accessible, and quality healthcare system for a greater percentage of Nigerians who are resident rural communities.”

NYCN president lamented that many Nigerians, especially children die every day from malaria and other diseases because of the absence of poor health facilities in the country.

The communique read in part: “It has been the subject of our scrupulous observation that hundreds of lives are lost every day in Nigeria, not because of incurable diseases but as a result of a poorly functional healthcare system to offer medical care to citizens especially the average or poor citizens who mostly dwell in rural areas.

“The findings of our survey reveal that a vast number of local governments do not have standard primary Healthcare facilities. This has left the populace of such communities vulnerable to diseases with attendant high maternal and infant mortality rates.

“We were perplexed and patriotically disenchanted by the records which show that the Federal Government had made provisions for the state of the art primary healthcare centres to be built across the 774 local government areas through a well thought out public-private partnership contrary to the sordid episode being played out where basic health facilities are lacking in most of the local government areas.

“Some State Governors who felt they should dictate what happens at the local government level have not been comfortable with the public-private partnership to provide basic Healthcare at the local/community level and indeed set out to scuttle plans thus the decadent state of rural health infrastructure.

“At this moment of global health emergency of Covid-19 where the Government’s attention ought to be on making the Nigerian healthcare system work, we are saddened by the nonchalant attitude of the Nigerian Governors Forum who rather than prioritizing the healthcare system, are resisting the noble efforts to build primary health care centres in most of the states.

“On the heels of these developments, we call on the government to ensure a total revamping of the existing healthcare system in the 774 Local Government Area in Nigeria.

“We demand the immediate establishment of a new healthcare system that ensures basic healthcare facilities are built in areas of deficiencies in the 774 Local Government Areas in line with the masterplan of the public-private partnership.

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