By Emmanuel Peter
The Nigerian Medical Association is currently holding its 2018 annual general meeting at the international conference, Abuja. The program which aimed at strengthening the quality of healthcare service delivery in Nigeria. With the theme: “quality healthcare delivery an indicator of good governance.”
Budgeting for health in resource poor settings; reversing medical tourism through efficient public and private partnership; and national health (Act) assessment: after four years, where are we? These among others are the main core objectives of the program.
Speaking with journalists, Dr. Abubakar Abdulrahman, popularly known as Triple A, former chairman Nigerian Medical Association Bauchi state chapter, immediate past national treasurer NMA, former committee chairman on prison welfare, chairman on advocacy, monitoring and evolution. He is currently member board of management Federal Teaching Hospital (FTH) Gombe.
He expressed optimism and shared more light about the significant of the conference, pointing out that the confidence creates an avenue for health stakeholders to come together to brainstorm and find possible solutions that would aim at addressing the various challenges facing the sector.
“The Nigerian Medical Association is the custodian of people’s health, it’s an association of doctors in Nigeria and in diaspora. The association was established in 1960, and we are saddled with the responsibility of taking care of the health of the citizens. That is why you are seeing these calibre of people here today.
In the area of the state of health sector in Nigeria, Mr. Abdulrahman noted that the current administration is putting its possible best in ensuring quality healthcare delivery considering the one percent budget implementation adopted by the government.
“what I can say about primary health care, government is trying in putting the machinery in place, we all heard what the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki said, that the health care sector will get one percent of the 2018 budget, and which will soon be passing into law. Its part of what we have been clamoring and agitating for. I think this is happening because he (Dr. Saraki) is also a medical doctor and he is part of this association. What am assuring you is we are moving, it’s a process, and we are getting there.”
Speaking on the on-going strike embarked by the joint health sector union, Mr. Abdulraman called on the both parties to look at possible way to resolve the issue. Adding that embarking on strike will endanger the lives of the people.
“As we always say, strike should be the last thing that should be considered, and when you are going on strike you should consider the health of the people who are dieing.
“Let me also use this opportunity to appeal to them to still get back to the negotiation table and discuss with the government. I think there are other ways that this issue could be resolved better than what would lead to the death of some people.”
When asked about what has been the contribution of the association on the issue of brain drain? He however noted that they (Medical Doctors) have been patient enough and they are looking into some of the issues.
“Well, these are some of the issues we are looking at, and that is why you can see that doctors have been patient with the government. Naturally, when you hear about brain drain, it’s all about welfare issue. Because the demand of the NMA is not yet really materialized, some of them considers it that their contemporaries abroad or diaspora are being paid more or higher than what they are getting here.”
He however, called on the federal government to continue with its good governance and to pay more attention in health sector because that is the only way a government can reach the people at the grassroots.