–Confab recommends restriction of government sponsorship of public foreign medical care




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ABUJA -The National Conference on Wednesday in Abuja recommended restriction of government sponsorship of public officers for foreign medical care with the exception of cases that require referral abroad.

The conference, while adopting the amended reports of its Committee on Sector, agreed that other than in exceptional cases, all public officers should be mandated to utilise local facilities.

These exceptional cases, according to the delegates, must be screened by a medical board made up of appropriate medical and professionals and be subjected to the approval of the Minister of Health.

The delegates also accepted that there should be free-healthcare for children between the ages of zero and five years, senior citizens from the age of 65 years; living with disability and free maternal services.

The conference also resolved that government and owners of mission/private schools should dialogue to facilitate the handover of all mission and private schools to their original owners.

It was agreed that in returning the schools, owners must ensure that they were affordable and able to serve wider variety of the public as was the original concept.

The conference further agreed that staff of such schools should have the option of remaining with the institution or be absorbed into government service.

It recommended that government should convert all Almajiri schools to normal schools and integrate Quranic education curriculum to absorb millions of such children who were out of school.

It added that government should build additional Almajiri schools to bring the number to 400 as originally planned, while a10-year of sustained implementation should be put in place.

The delegates asked government to provide free basic education with free uniforms, books and midday meals for all children from primary one to junior secondary three.

It accepted that government should declare a state of emergency in the education sector and allot not less than 20 per cent of the total annual budget to the education sector.

The conference recommended that the 2004 Pension Act should be amended to ensure that the payment of pension continued throughout the lifetime of the beneficiaries rather than stopping at 15 to 18 years after retirement.

It approved that a social security policy be put in place to cater for the well being of the elderly in addition to the pension policy.

The delegates adopted a recommendation that government should legislate to prohibit installation of telecommunication mast in residential neighbourhood as well as other practices that negatively impact on health, including female genital mutilation.

They recommended that government should re-introduce the sanitary inspection and provide fully equipped mobile clinics in rural community.

The conference, however, rejected a recommendation calling for the of Surgeon General of the Federation. (NAN)