Stakeholders in Gombe State have expressed total support for the establishment of a new Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Deba, in order to bridge the existing gap between primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare delivery in Gombe State.
They separately spoke on Tuesday in Abuja during a public hearing on the Federal Medical Centre Deba Bill 2021, organised by the Senate Committee on Health.
The tertiary medical facility, according to the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central), will provide facilities for diagnosis, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services in medical treatment as well as provide medical training.
He reiterated that the legislation was informed by the need to bridge the existing gap between primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare delivery in the State and Nigeria at large.
Meanwhile, speaking at the public hearing, the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said there is an existing policy for Federal Tertiary Hospitals to adopt at least two state government-owned Comprehensive Health Centres or Primary Health Care Centres in the senatorial zones.
This, he said, is in accordance with the existing policy that mandates the federal hospitals to do so.
Newsmen report that the proposed FMC will require about N1billion to set up if the Bill is passed the law and assented.
At the hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Health, Mr Mamora told the panel that while the quest to improve access to quality healthcare services is a good idea, Federal Medical Centres do not have an “Act” guiding their establishment and regulations for now.
The “Teaching Hospitals Act” is being adopted for this purpose.
He also explained that the policy for establishing Federal Medical Centres is for it to be established in states where there are no federal teaching hospitals.
The Minister said the policy is already accomplished and it is inadvisable for the federal government to engage in the proliferation of tertiary health facilities establishments – because it will put further pressure on the scarce resources for funding and strengthening the existing facilities.
“Gombe State already has a Federal Tertiary Hospital named Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe (FTHG). Besides, there is an existing policy for Federal Tertiary Hospitals to adopt at least two state government-owned Comprehensive Health Centres or Primary Health Care Centres in the Senatorial Zones to improve healthcare delivery and capacity building.
“FTH, Gombe should be strengthened and mandated to adopt Comprehensive Health Centres in each Senatorial Zone in Gombe State,” he added.
Also, a community leader in the state, Daniel Maddo, informed the Senate panel of a similar bill recently passed in the House of Representatives for the establishment of Federal Medical Centre, Billiri in Gombe State.
The legislation, he said, was passed in July and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence on September 16, 2021.
While he wondered why the Senate committee was not aware, he said the legislation deserves serious consideration because it represents an attempt to improve access to tertiary health care to residents of the local government.
Other stakeholders, who made presentations, argued that the state has only one tertiary medical centre and the population has outgrown the facility due to a high influx of people from the neighbouring states as a result of insurgency in the North-East region, hence need to establish a new FMC in Deba.