NMA names major impediment to Nigeria health sector growth

NMA President, Mike Ogirima, a professor of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
NMA President, Mike Ogirima, a professor of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

One of the major problems of the Nigerian health sector is the failure by government to implement existing laws and policies, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said.

Mike Ogirima, the president of the association, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja.

He said Nigeria’s health and socio-demographic indices have kept declining because a series of laws, policies and conventions adopted were not being followed with the right implementation.

He listed some laws he said would have revolutionised healthcare delivery in the country had they been diligent implemented.

They include the National Health Policy 2004 & 2016; Healthcare Financing Policy & Strategy 2006; Recommendations of National Vaccine Summit 2012; Outcome of Presidential Summit on Healthcare Financing 2014 and the National Health Act 2014.

Speaking particularly about the Health Act, Mr Ogirima said it addresses most of the issues bedevilling the nation’s health sector.

The Nigerian government and the NMA have previously disagreed over the status of the National Health Act, a law that came into effect in 2016 to improve the access of Nigerians to health care delivery.

While the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, said the Act had been substantially implemented, the NMA President, Mr Ogirima, said that was far from the truth.

The National Health Act was signed into law in 2014, after 10 years of consideration. The Act aims to establish a framework for the Regulation, Development and Management of a National Health System; to achieve the Universal Health Coverage and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mr. Ogirima on Tuesday further lamented that Nigerian doctors are leaving the country in droves.

He said it was against the backdrop of these challenges that the association will be holding its 58th Annual Delegates’ Meeting and Scientific Conference.

He said the event to be held between April 29 and May 5 will be a multi-stakeholder meeting that will present health professionals, NGOs, CSOs, government parastatals and political parties an opportunity to deliberate on the challenges of health care delivery in the country.

Mr. Ogirima said he will also leave office as the president of the association during the event.

“I will cease to be the president of the NMA on Saturday 5th May 2018 when another president and national officers will be elected by the delegates,” he said.

Chiedozie Achonwa, the NMA chairman in Abuja, said free medical outreach will be conducted during the conference.

“500 people will be treated for free in Abaji General Hospital, Abuja.”

The central theme for the NMA annual conference is “Quality Healthcare delivery- an indicator of good governance”.
The conference would also examine the following sub-themes:

Budgeting for/Financing Health in Poor Resource Settings: Nigerian Experience; Reversing Medical Tourism through Public Private Partnership in the Health Care System; and the National Health Act: Where Are we?

President Muhammadu Buhari is the expected guest of honour while former President Yakubu Gowon will chair the occasion.


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