Obasanjo spoke yesterday at the launch and endowment for the proposed University of Medicine and Medical Studies to be built by the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta.
The event took place at the site of the proposed varsity at Ajibayo village, OGTV-Ajebo Road, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to Obasanjo, the country was facing the challenge of dismal health issues like maternal mortality, infant mortality, non-communicable diseases and other life-threatening diseases.
The former military ruler also noted that 43 per cent of the population lacked access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
Obasanjo, who ruled Nigeria for eight years as a democratic-elected president after serving as head of state, said that the country loses N300bn to the treatment of diseases that could be prevented if the health sector was well funded.
According to him, “Nigeria loses about N300bn annually to the prevention and treatment of malaria, including the loss of man-hours and diminished productivity.
“These alarming statistics are further worsened by a number of infrastructural deficiencies.
“It is common knowledge that 43 per cent of the population lacks access to safe water, 37 per cent lacks access to adequate sanitation and about 40 per cent lacks access to public health services.
“Apart from the endemic diseases , the rising number of non-communicable and life-threatening diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic kidney diseases, cancers of the breast and cervix among our women, prostate and colon cancer among men is alarming.
“There is also a challenge of malnutrition and food security in the country,” he said.