By Abdullahi Yusuf
In our dear country Nigeria, the responsibility of providing health care to local communities is shouldered upon Local Governments through primary health care. State Governments are responsible for taking care of any facility under secondary health care, while Federal Government on the other hand is responsible for handling Tertiary Health Care Institutions which include (federal or state) university teaching hospitals or Federal Medical Centers (FMCs).
Contemporarily, there are 22 FMCs in Nigeria located in different states of the federation. In operationalizing the policy of providing health care services to Nigerian citizens, the Federal Government decided to establish one tertiary health institution in each state in which FMCs were established in states that do not have a University teaching hospital. However, there was an exception in the case of Lagos State which has both a University Teaching Hospital and FMC at the same time. This might be due to its population density and the commercial activities in the state.
Kaduna is the third most populous state in Nigeria with more than 5 million people as per 2006 census data. The number could be double today. Rigasa, a ward under the Igabi Local Government Area, is considered the fastest developing area in terms of population, with approximately 3 million people according to Wikipedia.
People living in Rigasa commonly faced limited access to good health care, having just two primary health care centres and one general hospital which are not enough to cater for the health need of the populace. There are quite a numbers of private hospitals which supports the provision of health care to the people of the community but could only be patronized by well-to-do members of the society.
With regards to the limited accessibility of quality health services by the people of Rigasa, the senator representing Kaduna central Mallam Uba Sani sponsored a bill for an Act to establish the Federal Medical Center Rigasa. According to him, this will bring much-needed relief to inhabitants of the hugely populated area, who for long have to travel long distances to get medical attention. This is a commendable effort by Senator Uba Sani and history will never forget his kind gesture towards the people of Igabi Local government and Kaduna State at large.
In 2019, if we can remember, Senator Uba Sani raised a motion with regards to a measles outbreak in Wusar village, which is under the Gwaraji ward of Igabi LGA. The Senate directed the Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and National Primary Health Care Development Agency to take measures that would address the outbreak. It also directed the NCDC to set up an office in the local government as a matter of urgency.
The bill for an Act to establish Federal Medical Center Rigasa passed its first reading on the 19th of November, 2019. And subsequently, passed its second reading on the 17th of December, 2019. The bill passed its third reading on the 3rd of December, 2020. It is currently awaiting assent by President Muhammadu Buhari, which will pave the way to the commencement of the work.
The boon of establishing FMC Rigasa can not be overemphasized as it will bridge the gap of accessibility of quality health care services by the people of the community and the state at large. It will also provide easy access to more sophisticated healthcare services by making available technologically advanced machines and equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of all kinds. It will also provide intensive manpower in taking care of patients and operationalizing the sophisticated health care services.
Socioeconomically, the establishment of FMC Rigasa will undoubtedly boost the macro and micro economy of the state by reducing the rate of unemployment among the graduates, promoting business activities of SMEs and increasing revenue generation for the state government. The huge economic impact of the Rigasa Train Station on the inhabitants of Rigasa and Kaduna State at large is obvious to all. Moreover, this impact will surely duplicate itself beyond expectation when the FMC is established.
It has been a well-known fact that Rigasa inhabitants are die-hard supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari, and they have never compromised their support regardless of the situation of the country. This is a great chance for Mr President to reciprocate the gesture and prove his appreciation for his long-standing support by okaying the bill for commencement of work.
In conclusion, I will like to appeal to all concerned individuals who in one way or the other can support the actualization of this dream to help in pushing this agenda till it becomes a reality. Kaduna state government under the leadership of Mallam Nasir ElRufai have done a lot for Rigasa. Still, we will not relent in soliciting this one more favour concerning actualizing FMC Rigasa. Zazzau Emirate under the leadership of Amb Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli as well can help in facilitating this agenda, and finally Federal Ministry of Health under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire should kindly help in facilitating the actualization of FMC Rigasa.
Abdullahi Yusuf is a student in Human Kinetics and Health Education Department, Bayero University Kano. He wrote from Rigasa, Kaduna, via firstname.lastname@example.org.