First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has embarked on campaign for a review of the interest rates associated with loans from both commercial and development banks for the establishment of private hospitals in Nigeria, and the provision of appropriate incentives.
Speaking today, March 12, when she received in audience, the Guild of Medical Directors, at the Presidential villa, Abuja, Aisha Buhari observed that private hospitals are playing a strategic complementary role through the provision of social services that benefit millions of Nigerians.
She therefore emphasized the need for tax incentives to be extended to them to enable them reduce the cost of healthcare. This was even as she commended the patriotic zeal with which doctors carry out their duties, in some cases even at the cost of their lives.
She called for a one minute silence for the repose of the soul of the late Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh who lost her life while saving an Ebola patient in Lagos and two other doctors that died while saving the life of a Lassa fever victim in Kano, saying that they displayed a high sense of patriotism.
Aisha Buhari also used the opportunity of the visit to call on Nigerians to be vigilant and observe the stringent prevention and control measures against the novel corona virus (Covid 19), which has become a pandemic, saying;
“We are meeting today at a time when the entire world is being confronted by the novel Corona Virus covid-19 Pandemic and I would like to use this opportunity to urge you all to be vigilant and to observe the appropriate infection prevention and control measures for your safety and that of others.”
Speaking earlier, President of the Guild, Professor Femi Babalola commended the First Lady for making universal and qualitative healthcare as one of her top priorities, especially the reduction of neonatal and maternal mortality, which she carries out through the Future Assured Programme.
Professor Babalola spoke of the challenges hindering the practitioners from optimal provision of universal health care for the teeming masses, which he said, include non- recognition of private hospitals as an essential arm of the healthcare structure in Nigeria, multiple and excessive taxation and lack of access to reasonable credit facilities. He recommended the establishment of a special private healthcare intervention fund to cater for the services of private hospitals.