A Consequence of Anti-poor Policies of Government
The Lagos State Chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) considers the outbreak of cholera epidemic across the country a grave consequence of the monumental failure of governance in Nigeria. The epidemic that is raging in states like Plateau, Sokoto, Zamfara and Lagos State has claimed 74 lives while no fewer than 373 Nigerians are hospitalized.
Unavailability of potable water and poor waste disposal system are no doubt largely responsible for the epidemics. Worse still, the health sector itself is ailing. Like every other sector, the health sector is bedeviled with a lot of problems ranging from inadequate facilities, mismanagement, corruption and chronic underfunding, which are a consequence of the anti-poor and pro-rich policies of the government. But in order to settle their own individual health problem, the top government functionaries fly abroad for medical attention even if it is just common headache.
In 2013 budget, it is so appalling that not only paltry 5 percent was allocated to the health sector by the federal government but there was also a sharp drop of N3.54billion compared to the 2012. This clearly shows the manifestation of the anti-poor policy of the government to deliberately deny Nigerians good and affordable health care. For instance, many Nigerians die of avoidable and curable diseases as a result of ill-equipped laboratories, lack of drugs, overworked and understaffed medical practitioners in the public hospitals etc.
We have to stress that the poor state of the health sector is not as a result of lack of necessary resources but the anti-poor capitalist philosophy espoused by the major political parties in government at all levels
This explains why the working people and the poor need their own party and government, at all levels, which would deploy the collective wealth of the society for the benefit of all. In order to realize such a government we call on workers, artisans, youths and the poor to join us. .
However, we call on the governments, at all levels, to use public resources at their disposal to stem the further spread of the epidemic and other curable diseases in the country. They must provide all necessary medical attention to the affected people, equip the medical health care facilities, employ more medical practitioners, and implement all agreements freely signed with helath sector unions. The government must also provide potable water, functional waste disposal facilities and plan the environment in such a way that drainage system and other basic facilities will be in place.
Above all, the country can only get rid of the epidemics and other curable diseases in the long run only if neo-liberal capitalist policies that promote private interest at the expense of overall public interest is jettisoned and massive investment in primary, secondary and tertiary health care is sustainably carried out across the country. This must go side by side with transparent and democratic management of these investments by elected workers, community people and government representative.
Lagos State Secretary