… As NMA urges FG to declare State of Emergency on health***
Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Ogun chapter, on Monday, called on the state government to declare a state of emergency in the health sector to address the issue of brain drain among medical doctors.
NMA Chairman in the state, Dr Adekunle Ashimi, made the call at a news conference to flag off the 2022 Physicians’ Week, with the theme: “Nigeria’s Healthcare Delivery System and the 2023 Democratic Transition: A Time to Change the Narrative.”
Ashimi expressed regret about the rate at which brain drain had hit the country’s health sector, saying that no fewer than 10,296 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria were currently practising in the United Kingdom.
According to him, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the U.K., after Pakistan and India.
This, he said, had made the country lose its human resources in geometric progression.
According to him, until government declares a state of emergency in the health sector, the trend may continue to linger.
“We call on our government to urgently declare emergency action in Nigeria’s health sector for the sake of the citizens.
“As the situation gets worse, doctors, who stayed behind, are seriously overworked, as bureaucracy has made it difficult for heads of public hospitals to replace the doctors who had left.
“Therefore, those who are working now begin to see reasons to join the train and leave the country.
“The situation our health care is facing now means one doctor to 15,000 patients, which may be worse if the situation is not addressed,” he said.
Ashimi also appealed to the government to review the Consolidated Medical Salary Scheme, saying that there was a need for commensurate hazard allowance for health workers.
He noted that the review of CONMESS had been due since 2014, based on the 2009 collective bargaining agreement signed by the government to review it after five years.
He also urged the state government to start paying the revised hazard allowance without delay, as few states had been paying it ahead of the Federal Government.
It was reported that the week-long programme will feature a scientific conference, community outreach and a symposium.
The Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on the state government to implement the report of the committee on review of medical doctors and other health workers’ salaries.
The state’s NMA Chairman, Dr Madaki Sheyin, made the call on Monday in Kaduna at an event to mark the
2022 Physicians’ Week.
The NMA Physicians’ Week is an annual event during which the sacrificial works of physicians are given prominence and doctors are celebrated.
The theme of this year’s week-long event is “Nigeria’s Health Care Delivery System and the 2023 Democratic Transition: A Time to Change the Narrative.”
Sheyin, therefore, linked the 2022 theme of the week with the 2023 general elections, saying “the 2022 theme of the Physician’s Week is in tandem with the most important upcoming event in the country.
“The sub-themes — Mitigating the Impact of Brain Drain on Dwindling Human Resource for Health and Health Reforms in the Face of Emerging Public Health Threats — were chosen to intimate government on the state of the health sector.
“The era of blind loyalty is over. Let us all patiently wait to hear the plans of the presidential candidates for Nigeria and
gubernatorial candidates in Kaduna, especially in the health sector, before pitching our political support tent.
“On the sub-themes, the issue of progressive depletion of human resources for health cannot be overemphasised.”
The NMA chairman also called on the state government to approve hazard allowance for doctors, saying “the
Nigerian doctor is poorly paid, overworked, lacks necessary work tools and a target of kidnap.
“The Kaduna doctor is even the worse hit by this poor welfare condition. This, alongside insecurity, are largely
responsible for the mass exodus of doctors, causing brain drain.”
He, however, commended the state government “for significant infrastructure development, especially in the area of primary health.”
Sheyin said that the association started the week by sending relief materials to worse-hit states by flood, while affected communities would also be reached for medical assistance.
He added that “I am hereby using this auspicious occasion to send a message of love and sympathy from NMA to all fellow citizens affected by the flood disaster ravaging parts of the country. We pray for quick resolution and recovery.
“We call on government at all levels to work together and help victims to recover quickly.”
He also called on the Federal Government to actively initiate measures to avert another flooding.
In another development, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Monday in Ilorin urged the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on the health sector.
Dr Abdulkadir Ahmed, the Kwara Chairman of NMA, made the appeal while addressing newsmen as part of activities marking the 2022 Physician Week.
According to him, Nigeria is losing human resources for health in geometric progression, Lassa Viral Haemorrhagic fever, Malaria, COVID-19, Ebola and Marburg, among others.
He, therefore, called on the government to quickly declare emergency action in Nigeria’s health sector for the sake of citizens, adding that there is need to do more on the security of lives and properties.
“Insecurity is impacting negatively on the health of Nigerians and the ability of healthcare workers to deliver services to Nigerians.
“The roads are not safe for our members to move freely to their places of work, especially those outside Ilorin and even our members are afraid of driving at night to attend to emergencies because of fair of kidnapping within Ilorin metropolis,” he said.
He observed that despite the national drawbacks, the Nigerian doctor has a lot to celebrate this week just for being alive.
Members of Kwara NMA after a news conference organised to commence 2022 Physician Week in Ilorin on Monday.
Ahmed asserted that NMA Kwara members have recorded a lot of successes in career development with many passing their fellowship examinations, and getting promoted to the rank of Professors and Associate Professors.
He disclosed that at least five NMA members from the state were appointed to NMA National offices.
The NMA chairman however expressed sadness at the devastating effects of the flood ravaging the nation, while appealing to government at all tiers to assist victims and also actively initiate measures to avert flooding.
“This is one flood too many in our recent history as a nation; we say no more floods while we await active and proactive measures from relevant organs and agencies of Government concerned.
“Our beloved country is passing through difficult times but I know that if we persevere and continue being the best that we can be, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Nigeria is at a turning point and we all are hereby charged to stand as compatriots to obey the call of Nigeria. We must never let the labours of our heroes past be in vain,” he said.
Ahmed also advised citizens to choose good leaders and do away with politics of pecuniary benefits in order to move the country forward.
He remained on the plight of their members nationwide that the Nigerian doctor is overworked, lack necessary working tools and has become a target for kidnap in addition to being grossly underpaid.
He lamented that members have been taken from the lofty heights of nobility to nothingness by the neglect and possible disdain for the health sector by successive governments.
“The penchant of State Governments for seizing or slashing salaries and paying it piecemeal has become a subject of folklore and unthinkable. This trend must be reversed immediately.
“Recently, the Federal Government and some states of the federation also started the implementation of the newly revised hazard allowances for all health workers.
“These have made Kwara State Service unattractive to Doctors as evidenced by massive reduction in the number of Doctors in service,” he said.
The NMA chairman, therefore, advised the Kwara Government to recruit and replace medical doctors that resigned from the state services.
He however commended the Kwara government for trying to reposition the health sector through rehabilitation and equipping hospitals, primary healthcare centres, efforts at accreditation and reaccreditation of residency programmes in General Hospital, Ilorin, among others.
Ahmed added that activities of the week include zoom meetings on topical issues and medical consultations for the general public and NMA members to check their health as they also run busy schedules.