The Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said there is a need for more federal tertiary hospitals across the country to adopt at least two state government-owned comprehensive health centres or Primary Health Care Centres.
This, he said, is in accordance with the existing policy that mandates the federal hospitals to do so.
He made the call on Tuesday during a public hearing on the bill seeking to establish Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Deba, Gombe State.
Newsmen reported how the proposed FMC will require over N1 billion to set up if passed and assented to.
The Centre, according to the sponsor, Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central), will provide facilities for diagnosis, preventive, curative and rehabilitative service in medical treatment as well as provide medical training.
He said the legislation is informed by the need to bridge the existing gap between primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare delivery in Gombe State and Nigeria as a whole, he said.
At the hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Health, Mr Mamora told the panel that while the quest to improve access to quality healthcare services is a good idea, Federal Medical Centres do not have an “Act” guiding its establishment and regulations for now.
The “Teaching Hospitals Act” is being adopted for this purpose.
He also explained that the policy for establishing Federal Medical Centres is for it to be established in states where there are no federal teaching hospitals.
Mr Mamora said the policy is already accomplished and it is inadvisable for the federal government to engage in the proliferation of tertiary health facilities establishments – because it will put further pressure on the scarce resources for funding and strengthening the existing facilities.
“Gombe State already has a Federal Tertiary Hospital named Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe (FTHG). Besides, there is an existing policy for Federal Tertiary Hospitals to adopt at least two state government-owned Comprehensive Health Centres or Primary Health Care Centres in the Senatorial Zones to improve healthcare delivery and capacity building.
“FTH, Gombe should be strengthened and mandated to adopt Comprehensive Health Centres in each Senatorial Zone in Gombe State,” he added.
On his part, a community leader in the state, Daniel Maddo, informed the panel of a similar bill recently passed in the House of Representatives for the establishment of Federal Medical Centre, Billiri.
The legislation, he said, was passed in July and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence on September 16.
While he wondered why the Senate committee was not aware, he said the legislation deserves serious consideration because it represents an attempt to improve access to tertiary health care to residents of the local government.
A few other attendees who made presentations said the state has only one tertiary institution and the population has outgrown the facility due to a high influx of people from the neighbouring states as a result of insurgency in the region.