By Hassan Zaggi
Governments at both the federal, state and local levels have been charged to give maximum support to the private medical practitioners for the growth of the health system in Nigeria.
The President, Association of General and Private Medical
Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Dr. Iyke Odo, made the call at one day round table dialogue private sector intervention in health care in Nigeria, in Abuja, Thursday.
He, however, called for the establishment of the Health Bank so that private practitioners in the health sector can have access to loans with minimal interest rates.
Dr. Odo explained that all countries of the world whose health system is doing well, the private practitioners benefited from the deliberately support by the government both financially in terms of infrastructure.
The one day dialogue, according to him, “is to dialogue with critical stakeholders and come out with a blueprint, a communique and a way out and then meet the government in the middle to say these are alternatives ways we can do things.
“One of those alternatives is that there is nowhere in the world where the health sector is succeeding when the private sector is not championing it.
“But the private sector cannot champion a course in which they do not have enablement. We have come to know that the biggest business of government is taxation, but the government cannot depend on taxation and succeed except is has empowered its people to do good business in a good environment enabled by infrastructure and good financial policy.
“By this dialogue, we are calling on both the federal, state government and local governments to come to the understanding that the private sector is the future of the healthcare system.
“They should support the private sector. We need a health bank just like the way we have Bank of Agriculture, we have bank of industry.
“We need to support the health system. That is the secret of India, Europe and America. Doctors should not be going to the bank to borrow money with these interest rate as oil companies.
“We are not businessmen. We are social welfare workers. We don’t make jumbo profit. We are here to support the people.
“Three out of 10 patients you see, they don’t pay. Nigerians are poor. We take patients with or without money and at the end of the day they walk away. For that reason, we need the government to support the private sector.
“Our government is trying, but we need to do more. We need to safe and protect Nigerians. Look at our maternal and infant mortality, it is about the worst in the whole Africa.”
Speaking, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, commended the private medical practitioners for their role in providing healthcare services to Nigerians.
He said that the private medical practitioners provide over 60 per cent of the healthcare services to patients in the country.
He, however, called for more investment in health security in the country.
“Across the world, we have seen the impact of this pandemic on the livelihoods of people. As a country, we are experiencing our worst recession in the past 40 years.
“The limited fiscal room at the Federal level of government has affected the States and we have had to adjust our spending and priorities to stay afloat. These prevailing fiscal realities have of course affected the poorest households.
“But while we mitigate the immediate consequences of the pandemic, we must also focus on building back our economy and health system for tomorrow — an economy and health system which is resilient to global health crises and economic shocks.
“By prioritising recovery plans that tackle multiple challenges, Nigeria can recover in a way that is more inclusive, sustainable and resilient,” he said.