A professor of paediatrics and child health, Theodore Okeahialam has urged paediatricians in the country to advocate for comprehensive healthcare for all children.
Okeahialam said this while speaking to the press on the sidelines of the 50th Anniversary and Annual Scientific Conference of the Paediatrics Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Ibadan.
The theme of the anniversary was PAN AT 50: Successes, Challenges, and Prospects.
Okeahialam, a former president of PAN, said comprehensive child health was the determinant of a productive life and a healthy population.
The next 50 years of PAN should be an important period of reform for the benefit of the Nigerian child.
Paediatricians are children’s advocates, they must therefore use their position wisely to protect the interests of their clients at all levels of governance.
To make life better for the Nigerian child and ensure their survival into adulthood as normal human beings, we as paediatricians cannot afford to be sitting on the sidelines.
Paediatricians as intellectuals and professionals must start being participants in governance to influence policies that support the growth, development and protection of the Nigerian-child, he said.
Okeahialam, who is also a former Provost of the College of Medicine, Imo State University, said that the low budgetary allocation to the health sector contribute to child mortality and morbidity rates in the country.
According to him many children die every day due to preventable causes as a result of lack of basic health facilities.
As an association, we have succeeded in producing many paediatricians in the past 50 years but the present poor state of health of majority of Nigerian children after 59 years of our independence is regrettable and unacceptable.
The low financial support for health has contributed to the continuous decay of health infrastructure with obsolete equipment, deterioration of healthcare services and continuous emigration of doctors, he said.
Okeahialam also solicited for partnership with the media in promoting advocacy for children’s health and well being.
Source: Voice of Nigeria