NLC, others condemn lawmaker’s suggestion of privatizing Nigeria’s teaching hospitals

The suggestion by the Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Amos Magaji, that Nigeria’s university teaching hospitals should be privatized has been roundly condemned by Nigerians, including the leadership of the country’s labour unions.

Magaji was reacting to the challenges of underfunding as reflected in infrastructural decay, overstretched facilities, poor power supply, and acute shortage of personnel facing all the tertiary hospitals scattered across the country.

The lawmaker, representing Zangon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, North-west Nigeria, made the suggestion when he visited Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) in Zaria, Kaduna State, recently.

He said the parliament would be willing to support the campaign for the hospitals’ privatization towards making them more efficient and effective.

Magaji though, acknowledged the difficulties the initiative may impose on Nigerians if carried out now, even as he suggested a critical review of the country’s health insurance system by increasing funding.

He acknowledged that, at the moment, there is a huge burden of out-of-pocket expenses on health and that commercializing teaching hospitals will be akin to “giving Nigerians death sentences.”

He said: “Governance is a system for the people, and as such, government policies should have a human face and align with the people’s aspirations.”

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