The federal government has pronounced polio, Lassa fever and the mining related lead poisoning in Zamfara as matters of national priority.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chuckwu, disclosed this recently in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 55th National Council on Health (NCH).
Delivering his keynote address at the function, Onyebuchi charged the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to live to its responsibilities, adding that government would provide the needed drugs to treat least 400 victims of lead poisoning.
“More importantly, President Jonathan has provided funds to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Zamfara Lead Poisoning to enable it begin special preventative and remediative work in Zamfara state,” he said.
Chukwu said government was upgrading seven laboratories that were originally built for control of avian influenza to widen their diagnostic capacity to include polio and Lassa fever.
In his address, deputy chairman, Senate Committe on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, said NCH was making reasonable improvement in the sector “but there is still a huge gap particularly in terrains that are hard to access.”
He said the challenge of quality and affordable health service by all Nigerians had been compounded by poor sanitation, inadequate access to water and poor housing conditions.
In her remarks, the Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Dr. Precious Gbeneol, urged government at all levels to protect the rights of women and girls in the areas of education, information, physical and mental health, in order to reduce
maternal mortality rate.
“I invite you to take cognisance of instances of deaths that occur as preventable and reflection of poor access which infringe on human rights,” she said.
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