The Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE), Abuja chapter has expressed worry over the country's decaying health infrastructure, calling for urgent government attention.
The institution which made this known at its 2020 annual conference with the theme: "Health Infrastructural Decay and Deficit in Nigeria: Problems, Innovative Solutions and Prospects," stressed the need to build more hospitals and remodel old ones.
Declaring the conference open, National Chairman of NICE, Engr. Aishatu Umar, commended the chapter for organising the conference, noting that the chosen theme was apt given the prevailing global realities.
The keynote speaker at the event, Dr. Bitrus Chagwa, said the healthcare system in the country is comatose, adding that decaying infrastructure discourages patients from going to public hospitals.
He decried poor budgetary allocation, embezzlement of the meagre allocation, factors which he stressed were responsible for the poor state of health infrastructure.
Chagwa further called on the government to pay more attention to primary healthcare, upgrade hospitals with modern facilities and equipment.
Also at the conference was the National President of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, who expressed delight at NICE's commitment to a better health sector. Ujah said the conference marked the beginning of an effective collaboration among key professions.
"I am very happy because outside the health sector, others are trying to help us. For engineers to be talking about health, we are at the point of effective collaboration," he said.
His presentation, which was on "curbing infrastructure decay, deficit, external medical tourism, brain-drain in the health sector," singled out infrastructure decay and deficit as the primary drivers of external medical tourism and brain-drain.
Engr. Dominic Akuboh, NICE Abuja chapter chairman, assured participants that the communique of the conference would be directed to the authorities concerned for appropriate action.