The President of the Senate, The Chairman and Members, of this Senate Committee, all Senators present, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
I am an indigene of Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State where the proposed Federal University of Medical Sciences and Bio-Medical Technology is to be sited.
That the health sector is one that efforts aimed at improving its capacity to deliver can never be said to be too much is incontrovertible. This is so as health is so paramount in the scheme of human endeavours with attestation to this fact by Winston S. Churchill wherein he said “Healthy citizens are the greatest assets any country can have.”
The World Health Organization’s recommendation for doctor-patient is in the ratio of 1:600 but regrettably, what we have in Nigeria is 4:10,000. This is ridiculously lower than what is considered ideal. Granted that a good percentage of doctors who qualify in Nigeria are plying their trade outside the shores of this country and this contributes significantly to the abysmal statistics cited above, the fact remains that the situation will still be helped with the establishment of more institutions to train prospective medical practitioners. While there are several factors encouraging the human capital flight of these professionals – which is not within the scope of this discourse – the establishment of an institution as proposed by the Bill under consideration
will in creating an avenue for the fulfillment of aspirations of many of our youths who desire to go into the medical field, shore up the number of doctors and other medical personnel available to attend to the growing population of our dear nation.
Bio-medical technology as an innovative form of medical research which applies engineering principles and concepts to the area of living systems with the main emphasis on problems related to human health and diseases is such that the propagation of its knowledge should be encouraged earnestly. Bio-medical technology with its novel approach to confronting the ever changing nature of diseases affecting humans is auspiciously relevant in the times that we are in. What with the ravaging coronavirus that literally brought the globe to a standstill, with its ever mutating nature!
With just a handful of tertiary institutions in Nigeria offering this relatively new but very relevant course of bio-medical technology, it is a welcome development, and indeed a commendable effort to seek the establishment of this new institution as anticipated by this Bill.
The benefits that would accrue from the passage of this Bill and the eventual establishment of the Federal University of Medical Sciences and Bio-Medical Technology, Abudu are quite multi-facetted. While a specialized medical school would serve the end of reducing the deficit in the ratio of doctors to citizens in the country through training of aspiring medical practitioners, the inclusion of bio-medical technology is most apt at this time when such knowledge is needed to combat strangely mutating diseases as are common today. With the forecast of a population of over 400 million people in Nigeria by 2050. The astuteness in preparing for healthcare that would cater to this mind-boggling population of people cannot be lost on even the casual observer. Also, it goes without saying that a number of persons will be taken off the unemployment stable and thus fulfilling one of the touted goals of this administration – at the federal level – while equally meeting certain key goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
It would be impracticable to exhaust the benefits that would attend the passage of this bill but suffice it to say that the nation as a whole will largely be better for it.
Mr. Chairman Sir, it is pertinent at this juncture to draw attention also to the fact that the location – Abudu, Edo State – where this Bill proposes for the institution to be sited is one that is most suitable. With all sense of humility, one can say boldly that Edo State is one of the most peaceful in the country. The people are also very hospitable and an environment conducive for serious work is guaranteed. The antecedents of the Edo State Government – with particular reference to the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki – demonstrates a strong commitment to partnering the federal government in siting and successfully running federal establishments in the state. That His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has continually given the health sector in the state prime place in governance – which will inevitably be replicated in the state government’s support for this proposed institution – is another strong reason why there could not have been a better place to site this proposed tertiary institution meant to advance the training of health professionals through incisive and extensive researches which culminate in better healthcare delivery to the populace.
Orhionmwon Local Government Area is one of the largest local government areas in Edo state and painfully lacks federal presence even though it is endowed with natural and Human Resources. It’s oil and gas are tapped and yield huge income to the federal government and her people have always cooperated with the businesses present in the local government.
It would be apt here to commend the sponsor of this Bill – Distinguished Senator Matthew Urhoghide of Edo South Senatorial District – as this is indeed a Bill that is wholly pro-people with far-reaching positive effects on the lives of the populace. This however does not come as a surprise as it is familiar terrain for the Distinguished Senator with his background as an accomplished pharmacist of long standing, along with his track record of continually seeking out ways to improve the lives of not only his constituents but the generality of the populace.
Sir, I wholeheartedly support the passage of this Bill and urge that beyond its passing, the relevant Senate Committees do all within their powers to see to the timely coming into fruition of the intent of this Bill.
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute on this very important Bill before the Senate.
Christopher Osaretin Nehikhare
Honourable Commissioner, Edo State