Article 3 of the universal declaration of human rights says “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
Closely following this international precept of human right is the section 33(1) of the Nigerian constitution which guarantees right to life.
The provision contained in that specific constitutional code goes thus: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life save in the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”
Sections 17(3) are more primarily concerned about the health rights of Nigerians.
These sub-sections of the Nigerian constitution states as follows: “The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that- (a) all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment; (b) conditions of work are just and humane, and that there are adequate facilities for leisure and for social, religious and cultural life; (c) the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment are safeguarded and not endangered or abused; (d) there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons: (e) there is equal pay for equal work without discrimination on account of sex, or on any other ground whatsoever; (f) children, young persons and the age are protected against any exploitation whatsoever, and against moral and material neglect; (g) provision is made for public assistance in deserving cases or other conditions of need; and (h) the evolution and promotion of family life is encouraged.”
Following from the above is the need to state that implementation of public policies in all its ramifications are the functions of bureaucracy and other administration organs of government.
The public policy expert R. K. Sapru made the above points very clear in his authoritative book titled: “Public Policy: formulation, implementation and evaluation.”
He wrote thus: “The principal function of public administration is the implementation of public policies. Public administration has concentrated on the machinery for the implementation of public policies, as given, rather than on making them. In an era when about 2/5th of the Indian work force is employed by government, the functions and roles of government employees determine what happens after a policy, in the form of a law or a statue has been adopted.
The expert said also that Public policies in India, as in other countries, are implemented by a complex system of administrative organizations and agencies.
They perform several activities.
What this means is that the day-to-day running of these enterprises becomes a matter of wide public concern.
The main agencies which are implementing government activities and public policies are as follows:
Bureaucracy and other Administrative Organizations.
RK Sapru defines these institutional organs that implements public policies ss follows: “The bureaucracy is an executive branch of the government. It is an administrative organization consisting of a legal body of non-elected employed officials which is organized hierarchically into departments in accordance with the rules governing the conditions of their service.”
Bureacracy he argues rightly is an important institution which performs most of the day-to-day work of government.
It is the bureaucracy who controls the personnel, money, materials and legal powers of government, and it is this institution that receives most of the implementation directives from the executive, legislative and judicial decision-makers, he affirmed.
The author said something of interest to us in this piece when he reminds us that it is a question of controversy whether the bureaucracy is strong enough to dominate the political elite or vice versa.
He then added that however, bureaucracy has never been a popular word. It is said to be afflicted with excesses of red tape, tedious rules and an attitude of unresponsiveness.
Despite its maladies, it is important because implementation is the continuation of policy-making through means, he averred.
These basic foundations is necessary so as to properly focus on the thematic area of our piece which came about by a certain news story in The Guardian few days quoting the health minister as planning to import medical doctors to Nigeria as a way of checking medical tourism.
This news story instigated and ignited a groundswell of disturbing signals in the organized human rights community particularly because if it is indeed true that after over half a century that Nigeria became an independent nation that we are still relying on foreign medical doctors to work in our public health institutions and indeed the bureaucrats in this government would come up with such a weird public policy , it therefore means that Nigeria has returned to square one.
The HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA therefore undertook an interface with the Health minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire and his minister of state Senator Oloruninmbe Mamora to hear from them the real position and also to demand accountability from them on what the Federal government has in the pipeline to ensure the delivery of the right to qualitative healthcare to Nigerians.
From the totality of what the two ministers told us during the two hours meeting, there is nothing that shows that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is planning to impart foreign doctors. Here are their words so you judge for yourself.