First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has advocated for a review of the interest rates associated with loans from both commercial and development banks granted for the establishment of private hospitals and the provision of appropriate incentives. She made the call while receiving the Guild of Medical Directors, who paid her a courtesy visit, on Thursday 12th March, 2020 at the State House, Abuja.
Mrs. Buhari observed that private hospitals are playing a strategic complementary role by providing a social service that benefits millions of Nigerians, and appealed for tax incentives on their behalf, with a view to reducing the cost of healthcare.
She commended the patriotic zeal with which doctors carry out their duties, in some cases even at the cost of their lives. She called for a one minute silence for the repose of the soul of the late Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh who lost her life while saving an Ebola patient in Lagos and two other doctors that died while saving the life of a Lassa fever victim in Kano; these doctors, she said, displayed a high sense of patriotism.
Mrs. Buhari also used the opportunity of the visit to call on Nigerians to be vigilant and observe the stringent prevention and control measures against the novel corona virus (COVID 19), which has become a pandemic, saying;
“We are meeting today at a time when the entire world is being confronted by the novel Corona Virus COVID-19 Pandemic and I would like to use this opportunity to urge you all to be vigilant and to observe the appropriate infection prevention and control measures for your safety and that of others.”
Speaking earlier, Prof. Femi Babalola, President of the Guild, commended the First Lady for making universal and qualitative healthcare as one of her top priorities, especially the reduction of neonatal and maternal mortality, which she carries out through the Future Assured Programme. He said these indicate shared commitment between her and the Guild, towards the improvement of healthcare of Nigerians.
Prof. Babalola spoke of the challenges hindering the practitioners from optimal provision of universal health care for the teeming masses. These include non- recognition of private hospitals as an essential arm of the healthcare structure in Nigeria, multiple and excessive taxation and lack of access to reasonable credit facilities. He recommended the establishment of a special private healthcare intervention fund to cater for the services of private hospitals.
Highlight of the event was the symbolic application of a face mask and hand sanitizer by the First Lady.
The event was attended by wife of the Vice President and aides of the First Lady.