By Gift Chapi Odekina
Members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and other stakeholders on Tuesday expressed overwhelming support for the establishment of new health institutions across the country.
The stakeholders expressed the support in Abuja, during the public hearing, organized by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health Services for the establishment of Federal Medical Centre in Fufu, Kwara State and Ogoja, Cross River State; Federal College of Nursing and Midwifery in Otu-Jeremi, Delta State; National Hospital in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; as well as Federal Orthopaedic Hospital, Azare, Borno State.
Other stakeholders who supported the bills include: Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).
President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah who expressed support for the five bills observed that the proposed legislations will make health and health services affordable and accessible to the people with minimal stress.
Prof. Ujah who was represented former NMA President, Dr. Omede Idris however pointed out that they were given notice on four bills, said: “The Nigerian Medical Association is interested in bills that will to bring health and heaklth services to assist our people at affordable available and assessable to them with minimal stress in any form to our people.
“To that extent, wherever we hear about the establishment, looking at the logistics and hardship people suffer in accessing health, we are impressed and we are moved.
“And so, for all the four bills and those that have been presented here today, the Nigerian Medical Association support the establishment with some observations and some amendments that have been stated in the submission that we have made and we implore the Committee to do due diligence to some of those observations because of want of time.
“Let me specifically say, all the bills have our endorsement. We just want to say with regards to the national hospital, Port Harcourt, we equally support it and we know there is in style, people use some other names for style, somebody may say after all there is a National Hospital in Abuja.
There is nothing that precludes another National Hospital elsewhere.
“Our observation however is to regards to its intent to train people in the medical field. It is not bad to do that but for the purpose of the bill as it is we think passing this bill will be very nice but until there is an associated university where medical trainees will stream up to the hospital, it will not be appropriate to have it passed as it is, if the hospital is established and there is university that has students that needs to go through the training in the hospital set up, then this bill can be amended to exercise that,” he noted.
In his keynote address, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who represented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason said: “We cannot underestimate the estimate the importance of health institutions in our society, particularly at these moment when we have global health crisis, where health crisis, where health facilities are being overstretched all the world including our own country.
“You can now understand the importance of the activity that you are carrying out today and the responsibility which the nation has put squarely before you.”
On his part, Chairman, House Committee on health Institutions, Hon. Pascal Chigozie Obi, stressed the need to have enough health institutions in Nigeria to take care of the country’s health needs.
He however pointed out that having too many health institutions without adequate equipment, facilities and manpower is as good as not having one.