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Brain drain: We’re losing doctors daily – Ogun; Kaduna Urges Gov’t to review health workers’ salaries



Brain drain: We’re losing doctors daily – Ogun; Kaduna Urges Gov't to review health workers’ salaries

… 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.




SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice



SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has mapped out plans to get rid of quacks involved in management system practice in the country.

Its Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, made this known on Thursday at a one-day stakeholders’ engagement for the National Register for Conformity Assessment Practitioners (NRCAP) in Lagos.

Salim said the move would put an end to unscrupulous individuals who shortchanged companies and individuals.

According to him, the quacks lacked the required competency to operate in the management system space.

Salim said that conformity assessment practice was central to the sustenance of commercial success and continuity in all sectors.

He said that management system practitioners were vital toward ensuring that practices carried out by the industries “are in alignment with the international best practice in terms of the expectations of existing conformity assessment standards”.

“It is in view of the importance of the authenticity and traceability of products and services to meet the requirements of relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards and other approved specifications.

“SON seeks to pursue the implementation of Part II, Section 4(d) and Part III, Section 5 of the SON Act No.14 of 2015.

“Via the operation of the NRCAP scheme, in order to establish a directory of verified and registered Conformity Assessment Practitioners in Nigeria for all laboratories, management system consultants, Training Service Providers, Certification bodies, inspection bodies, inspectors, auditors and assessors.”

He said that lack of regulation of activities of the practitioners over the years had negatively impacted the industry and country significantly.

Salim listed other impacts including: “poor protection of genuine practitioners, unhealthy competition, poor visibility and recognition of genuine and competent practitioners capable of attracting patronage.

“Others are poor value for money for unsuspecting customers patronising quacks who deliver poor services.”

He also said that lack of official register of competent practitioners to aid national planning and coordination of economic activities that border on standardisation and quality assurance was also a challenge to the growth of the economy.

“This engagement is guided by the strategic collaboration/partnership that SON shares with various organisations over time, especially with the SON Management Systems Certification and Training Services Departments with which you interface through your customers, of which you are expected to bring to bear, your wealth of experience to this national call,” he said.

The SON director-general said that the registration processes, including approved guidelines, expectations of benchmarking Conformity Assessment standards and interests while developing the documents, were taken into consideration to ensure that impartiality of the process was assured.

He said that adequate training was given to the practitioners to boost their service delivery.

Earlier, Bode Oke, the First President, Society for Management System Practitioners of Nigeria, said the group would join hands with SON to stem quackery in the system to ensure that consumers get value for money they spent.

Oke said: “We are here to gain more knowledge and to join SON in the registration of all management system practitioners.

“We are going to partner with SON to ensure that the exercise is successful because we have a lot of companies practicing management systems that are not trained and competent.

“We are working together with SON to ensure that we remove all those incompetent people from the system.

“So that whenever a client approaches practitioners for registration, the client will know that he will not be shortchanged and get value for the money spent,” he said.

Oke said that the roles of system practitioners were vital in business growth and development.

He stressed that the system practitioners were responsible for taking companies through quality management systems certification, environmental management system certification, occupational health and safety certification and food management system certification.

“The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has established standards for all management systems.

“And, therefore, anyone that would lead companies to obtain this certification must be competent.

“This is why SON is regulating all the auditors, consultants and even, the certification bodies because we have some certification bodies coming from outside the country that are not competent, so competency is the key word here,” he said.

In her remarks, Patricia Solarin, a Consultant in the Quality Management System Practice, said that standardisation was germane for industrial development.

Solarin said: “There are so many briefcase-carrying consultants that are going around duping clients and most of these consultants did not even pass their audit test and examination.

“Without standardisation or regulations, it will be difficult to stop the quacks. A lot of companies are being shortchanged, because people taking them through certification do not really know much.

“So, SON is trying to register auditors and consultants, which is a welcome development to ensure that people get value for their hard money spent.”

She commended the leadership style of Salim for taking a bold step to tackle the challenges, urging the government to support SON to achieve greater feats.

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NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses



NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to demonstrate commitment to addressing monetary and fiscal policy challenges stifling businesses.

The NECA Director-General,  Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde,  made the call in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, listing such challenges as foreign exchange dichotomy, fuel subsidies, multiple taxations, among others.

He made the call, just as he commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and government for embracing dialogue to avert the nationwide strike by the workers’ union earlier scheduled to start on March 29.

“The quick response by the government to ease the cash liquidity and the corresponding immediate positive effect on the economy demonstrated that it has the capacity to address policies once it is determined to do so.

“Therefore, we call for similar determination and consultative engagements with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to proffer solutions to business challenges in order to facilitate competitiveness and productivity, “ he said.

He commended the efforts of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, and the Minister of Labour and Employment for personally getting involved.

He also lauded them for monitoring the disbursement to ensure compliance with the bank’s directive to end the cash crunch, of which the economic nerve centre and other areas had started witnessing improvement.

“The CBN has shown goodwill and true support for the ailing economy by immediately disbursing cash to the commercial banks.

“Also, by directing the banks to open beyond their normal working hours to ease the cash crunch in the nation: an action which could have been averted in the first place, “ he said.

Oyerinde, however, warned that the ripple effects of the cash swap policy would linger as it would take considerable time for businesses, especially the informal sector, to recover.

He said that many of them had closed due to low purchasing power of consumers.

The NECA chief said that business activities had stagnated in the last 10 weeks of the implementation of redesigning of the currency policy nationwide.

He said this had led to reduced productive output, high inventory and jobs cut, and impediments to personal and business transactions.

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Court Declares Activities of Kogi Transport Management Agency as Illegal



Court Declares Activities of Kogi Transport Management Agency as Illegal

…Says laws establishing KOTRAMA is inhuman***

A Kogi High Court on Thursday declared the activities of the Kogi Transport Management Authority (KOTRAMA), as illegal.

Justice Clement Kekere of High Court 10 made the order while delivering judgment in a case instituted against the agency by an Abuja-based lawyer,  Mr. Martin Atojoko.

Kereke, who faulted the law establishing KATROMA.

“By the evidence before the court, I hereby order that the Law establishing the agency be set aside forthwith.

“This is because the law made by the state house of assembly contravenes the Provisions of the Federal Road Safety Commission Act 2007.

“In all, the laws establishing KOTRAMA is inhuman, and is established to cause hardship on motorists,” the judge held.

The judge also awarded the plaintiff, N100,000 as general damages against the agency.

Atojoko had sued KATROMA and joined the Kogi House of Assembly, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and the state government as second, third and fourth defendants in the matter.

Atojoko had prayed the court to compel the defendants to pay him N10 million as general and exemplary damages for inter-alia the first defendant’s unlawful and illegal action of detaining and impounding his car.

The plaintiff had told the court in his originating summon that on June 22, 2022, he was stopped by officers of KOTRAMA over an expired driver’s licence while they impounded his Toyota Corolla car.

“My lord, I only got my car back the next day, after paying N10,000 in fines, an action which is but a contravention of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Law of 2007, ” he said.

Atojoko thereafter prayed the court to issue an order declaring that the second defendant could not make laws empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the Federal Road Safety Corp (Establishment) Act, 2007 in inspecting the driver’s license of motorists, issued by the FRSC and codifying same in Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018.

“A declaration that all the provisions of the Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018, empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the FRSC in the inspection of the driver’s license of motorists as invalid, illegal, unlawful, null and void ab initio.

“An order that the KOTRAMA cannot fine the plaintiff and impound his vehicle with registration No. 2T1BU4EE9AC312480, without first trying him and finding him guilty before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“An order that the act of the first defendant in impounding the vehicle and fining him without powers to do so is invalid, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void, ab initio,” he pleaded.

But KATROMA and other defendants through their Counsel, Mr. B.O. Obenege, had debunked the claims of the plaintiff and said that the agency acted within the ambit of the law that established it.

Obenege claimed that the house of assembly Law that established KOTRAMA was not a duplication of the FRSC Law of 2007.

He prayed the Court to hold that the action of KOTRAMA has not contravened the Kogi Law or any other law, and the claimant was given a summary fine of N10,000, all in accordance with Section 1(3) of the Law.

“In conclusion, we urge your lordship to dismiss the case for lack of merit,” Obenege had pleaded with the court.

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