Nigeria

Ex-President Jonathan calls for more investment in health sector

President Goodluck Jonathan

Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has stressed the need for the federal government to address the health security of the citizens while also tackling national security.

He made the call yesterday while inaugurating phase one of the renovated and remodelled General Hospital at Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State.

President Jonathan, who was in the state to attend the 2021 Annual Physicians’ Week of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) going on in the state as a key speaker, insisted that: “Whenever you are talking about national security, the health security aspect is very prominent too.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created such awareness in everybody-the administrators, politicians, professionals-that the health of the country is key, and we must do everything to strengthen the infrastructure to deliver the health need.”

He noted that the general hospital inaugurated was designed to meet the health of the country, and lauded the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for holding the key on how to develop the health sector.

Jonathan charged the people of the state to continue to work and encourage the governor, saying: “For as long as you continue to encourage him, he will do more work for you,” adding: “l believe that Governor Emmanuel will even do more in his remaining years before he leaves office.”

Speaking earlier, Emmanuel had said the inauguration of the general hospital was a fulfilment of a campaign promise he made to establish world-class secondary health care facilities (general hospitals) in all the 10 federal constituencies in the state.

The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, said with the inauguration, his administration has completed and unveiled nine model general hospitals to the glory of God, remaining that of Ikot Abasi federal constituency whose work is still ongoing.

According to him, “We have committed enormous resources in upgrading or reconstructing the health care facilities, given my acute belief that three fundamental elements determine and shape the social contract-security of lives and property, healthy population, and manpower development (education).

“We have tackled these three crucial areas with messianic zeal, and the results are there for any discerning or dispassionate mind to see.”

The governor recalled that last week, at the invitation by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to be their 61st Founders’ Day Guest Lecturer, he presented a paper entitled: ‘Changing the Narrative of Development through Infrastructure and Industrialisation’.

“I told the audience how we have been able to change the trajectory of our development through massive investments in infrastructure as a way of creating the enabling environment for industrialisation and the attendant attraction of foreign direct investments to our state, thus moving the needle of development away from the appellation of a purely civil service-oriented state to a fast industrialising one,” Emmanuel stated.

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