The president of Commonwealth Medical Association, CMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele has called on the federal government and stakeholders in the health sector to combine efforts to ensure the capacity for the promotion of, and full implementation of National Health Act is actualized for the good of all.
Osahon made this call shortly in a briefing with journalist after delivering his lecture as guest speaker at the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, NEC January 2020 meeting held at the Shehu Musa Yar’dua Conference Centre in Abuja with the theme: ‘’ Implementation of The National Health Act: The Bedrock for Improving the Nigerian Health Sector’’.
According to him: ’One of the first requirement is for all stakeholders to build their knowledge and capacity about the basic provisions of the National Health Act. And, being in a position to demand for accountability from those who are supposed to be the leaders in terms of the state actors in driving the Act.
‘’ So, you can only demand for accountability if you know what is there. You cannot demand for it in a vacuum. So, it is important that that first step in line with the issue of the disseminating information on the importance and provision of the Act need to be pursued.
‘’ Because we have the experience of the Child Act Right, Freedom of Information Act, FOI, and I am sure most Nigerians do not know what it entails. So, ditto for that which concerns their health and their well-being. So, it is so critical. Even the man in the remotest community, in their own local languages need to be told to know what it entails. So, that they can also demand for their basic right.
On the state of preparedness of the nation to check and fight back the recent outbreak of the coronavirus disease, he disclosed further: ‘’ The advice for us is to be proactive all the time. We need to be prepared considering our experience with the Ebola crisis.
‘’ We must have learned from it. We are having lasser fever. And, other viral diseases. We must have learnt from the experiences to say, what are the proactive steps that we need to take. Now, we know Nigerians travel all over the world. And, even now, we are increasingly having foreigners including Chinese coming into our country. Is, there a way we can build our capacity in terms of our index for suspicion even at the boarders?
‘’ Can we train those at the boarders to have high index for suspicion for instance and detect cases that need to be detected? Can we build our technological base at the boarders to be able to pick cases that are suspicious? So, that we do not have the experience we had the last time. Even the health workers, can we also remind ourselves in terms of information dissemination, knowledge acquisition on the basic things we need to be doing as health workers, in terms of hygiene, personal and for protection. Can we also educate our people in terms of information regularly? We used to have this active agency of government called the National Orientation Agency, NOA. That is one responsibility that they should have, proactively informing them.
‘’ Because, this Coronavirus, I saw it coming. Because as president of CMA, India for instance is a member of the commonwealth medical association and they also belonged to what we call the Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania counties, CMAAO, of which China is a part. So, we interact and interlink. So, it was already building up. I am therefore not so surprise but I also expect that people at the level of our steward in the health sector should be on top of the game by having the right information ahead of time and also grant proactive responsive and effective modalities prevent this from entering our country.
Meanwhile the Local Organizing Committee Chairman, who also dubbed as President, Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, FCT, Rolwand Aigbovo in his goodwill appealed to the Minister of Health to assist in the realization of the National Health Act.
‘’ We want to appeal to the Hon. Minister of Health to help expedite the full implementation of the National Health Ac. The Act was signed into law about six years ago to serve as a legal framework for the regulation, development and management of our health system. The NHA was meant to set a standard for the delivery of health care to all citizens’’, he said.
Earlier, the President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, Aliyu Sokomba decried the death of the three doctors who lost their lives addressing the lasser fever outbreak in Kano lending his voice to the complete implementation of the National Health Act.
His words: ‘’ It is indeed a trying moment for medical practitioners and their patients in this country. According to the information made available to from NCDC, there are 81 confirmed cases case of lasser fever cutting across 12 states involving three health care providers- all in the last three weeks. Dr. Khulthum Abba, Dr. Habeeb Musa lost their lives attending to this outbreak and that is the sad end for them and perhaps their families.
‘’ We as medical practitioners, have in recent times found ourselves in a whirlpool facing the challenges on numerous fronts-some of which have reached a scale we might not have expected thereby emphasizing the theme of this address; Implementation of the National Health Act: The Bedrock for improving Nigerian Health Sector.
He however reiterated the call for the safety and protection of health care givers bemoaning a situation where patients seeking for treatment will threw caution to the wind thereby attacking the supposed care giver he ran to for healing. ‘’ Just recently, a doctor working in Maitama hospital was attacked and stripped naked by relatives of the patients she was treating. These worrisome realities call to question the urgent need for government and all employer’s health workers to review the meager hazard allowances currently being paid to our health personnel.