By Ebi Kesiena
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has stated that the nation’s medical sector has not collapsed, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari is not the first president to go abroad for treatment.
The minister stated this in Washington DC during his engagements with international media organisations, including BBC Radio and Television, Bloomberg and Politico.
Speaking with NAN after a separate interview with the three media organisations, Mohammed noted that PMB has the right to choose his physician and that it was not an indication of a failed health sector.
Mohammed who is in the U.S. to meet with international media organisations and think-tanks on the achievements of President Buhari’s administration, stressed that PMB administration has made a lot of efforts in tackling insurgency, banditry and all forms of criminality.
“As Minister of Information and Culture, if I have had a history of using a particular Doctor in my life and I have confidence in him, I don’t think the fact that I am now a minister will change that. Irrespective of the nationality of that Doctor, it is my personal decision to choose the Doctor to use.
“Like I explained to them, he is not the only Head of State that has gone abroad for treatment.
“If Mr President has a personal physician for over 30 years, who understands his case and has been managing him, why will it be an issue of contention to seek medical attention from him. It will not be right to say that because of what people are going to say, he has to stay in Nigeria to seek treatment,” he stated.
The minister rebuked those who were criticising the President’s action of seeking medical attention abroad, stressing that it was an attempt to de-market him.
Mohammed disclosed that in spite of criticism of the sector, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had rated Nigeria fourth in terms of the national response to COVID-19.
He said the country attained the feat, notwithstanding the two-pronged challenges of vaccine nationalism and hesitancy.
The minister however explained that vaccine nationalism was the situation where countries like Nigeria were denied access to procure vaccines to administer to its teeming population.
“In countries where they have less population, they have received tens of millions of doses whereas in Nigeria we have received just about eight million.
“This is a far cry from the 70 per cent population that we need to vaccinate before we can achieve herd immunity,” he said.