How to improve health sector performance in Nigeria, by NMA

• Healthcare key to national development says Jonathan

Medical doctors under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have made recommendations on how to improve health sector performance in the country.

At the flag of the 2021 Physicians’ Week in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, said the doctors gathered to reflect on and review health sector events in the past 12 months.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘Nigeria in the COVID Era: Health Systems Strengthening for National Security and Prosperity.’

Ujah urged the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by NMA and called for an overhaul of the nation’s health sector. He also stressed the need for improved budgetary allocation and effective implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

“The week is used to celebrate ourselves, like doctors, who are contributing to effective health service delivery, health research, and national development. We also use this period to reflect and review events of the health sector in the past 12 months; our achievements and challenges, so that we can design the way forward to improve the health of our people,” Ujah said.

The consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist said activities lined up for the week include advocacy to critical stakeholders in the 36 states and FCT, and brainstorming on challenges of the health sector and proffering of solutions. There will also be media engagements to create more awareness on the importance of strengthening the health system, management, continuous medical education and medical outreaches.

On healthcare investment and financing, Ujah said the pandemic greatly exposed the nation’s poor health sector. “This has resulted in the call for a total overhaul of the nation’s health sector with the need to improve on financing in terms of budgetary allocation, effective implementation of NHIS, while enacting a law that will make the scheme compulsory for all adult Nigerians, as well as exploring alternative healthcare financing initiative like the proposed Health (Infrastructure) Bank by the NMA.”

Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan has described the COVID-19 pandemic as an eye-opener, saying national security and health must be handled side by side because good health is key to development.

He made the disclosure during the commissioning of the remodelled Ikot Ekpene General Hospital in Akwa Ibom State, yesterday.

He also urged the government to do everything in its power to strengthen infrastructure in the health sector.

Earlier, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by his Deputy, Moses Ekpo, said the hospital project was in fulfilment of his campaign promises.


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