The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has described the consistent routine medical checkup by President Muhamadu Buhari in London as an insult to Nigerians.
DAILY POST reported that the President on Tuesday jetted out of Nigeria for a supposed medical checkup in London.
The SPN party in its reaction, however, described Buhari’s action as insensitive.
The party in a statement made available to DAILY POST through its Acting National Chairperson, Comrade Bamigboye Abiodun and National Secretary, Comrade Chinedu Bosah also called for a peaceful mass protest in solidarity with doctors who are on strike.
The party also demanded improved funding for the health sector.
SPN said, “The Socialist Party of Nigeria considers President Buhari’s trip to London on Tuesday 30th March 2021 for “routine medical checkup” as insensitive, vexatious and an insult to Nigerians especially the working and poor people who have no choice but to continue to patronize at enormous risk to their lives poor healthcare system.
“The trip is also an insult to health workers especially doctors and nurses who have been risking their lives since last year with some paying the Supreme price to fight the coronavirus pandemic with very little support by the government in terms of basic protection kits, equipment to work with and welfare.
“It becomes all the more insulting and provocative considering the fact that President Buhari has jetted out of the country for his medical treatment and care using public funds 48 hours to the commencement of a nationwide strike by resident doctors.
“The doctors who had given a 60-day strike notice since January 25 2021 are preparing to withdraw their services from Thursday 1st of April on issues bothering on payment of arrears of house officers across the country, hazard allowance and others. This will no doubt imperil the health and lives of many ordinary Nigerians who may lose their lives not because their ailments are terminal but because they are unfortunately governed by a self-serving president and ruling capitalist political party, the APC, which does not care about the interests of the working people.
“One of the things the coronavirus pandemic has done is to expose the weakness of the nation’s underfunded public healthcare sector and the urgency of improving the healthcare system to improve the lifespan and quality of life of Nigerians and to also prepare the country for the next pandemic.
“Unfortunately, President Buhari’s medical tourism shows that the regime has learnt no lesson. Very little has changed in the quality of the healthcare sector in Nigeria. According to a May 18, 2020 publication by the Journal of Global Health Reports, Nigeria accounts for at least 20% of global maternal death (death of a pregnant mother during childbirth).
“This means a Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of 814 per 100, 000 life births. Similarly, the lifetime risk of a Nigerian woman dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post-abortion is 1 in 22, in contrast to the lifetime risk in developed countries estimated at 1 in 4900. In the same vein, very little efforts have been made to expand medical facilities as there are only 34, 000 Primary Health Centres (PHC) for a rapidly growing population of over 200 million.
“It took the threat of strikes and actual shutdown of hospitals by doctors last year before the federal government provided insurance cover for health workers and even till now, many doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers are still not covered in many states. Despite the immense sacrifices, the hazard allowance of doctors in Nigeria is still a measly N5, 000 per month way below what the President, governors, ministers, lawmakers and even local government chairmen and councillors spend to feed their pets in a week.
“Therefore, the only way forward is for health workers, the labour movement and the working masses to continue to fight for a well-funded healthcare sector under democratic workers control and management while simultaneously working to build a mass workers alternative political party to wrest power from the capitalist class and enthrone workers and poor people’s government armed with socialist programmes.”