By Chioma Obinna
NIGERIA health professionals have called for equity in the healthcare planning of the country, saying unless the country applies equity in its health planning, Nigeria will be far from attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
The health professionals who gathered at the 2009 annual scientific conference and general meeting of Association of Resident Doctors of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH-ARD) chapter, said even with upward review of federal allocation to health, it would not improve the health indices of the country without proper health planning.
In the views of the Chairman of the Scientific Conference who is also the ChiefÂ Medical Director of Krown Specialist Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Kayode Akinlade, â€œNigerian government has not done enough in respect of the MDGs which also explains why the countryâ€™s health indices still remain poor.
â€œThe question is: What had the government done in respect of achieving the goals? Increasing Health budgetary allocation cannot solve the problem we have in health because it will be like pouring water into a leaking bucket. What we are asking for is a minimum bench mark for healthcare delivery in the country. Let there be equity in our health planning,â€ he said.
On the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Akinlade who blamed the problem experiencing by the programme on what he described as â€˜rush – rush affairs by the past president Olusgeun Obasanjo to get it started without proper understanding and planning, lamented that â€œNHIS is only taking care of 5 per cent out of the 150 million Nigerians.
â€œIt is disheartening that the programme is only taking care of the people in the formal sector leaving out the poor masses who should have benefitted. The programme has a tripod structure, unfortunately, one leg of is complaining of poor remuneration as they are only paid N550 for attending to a patient in one year.â€
Also speaking, the Chief Executive ofÂ BIOSTADT Limited, Prince Emma Ajayi who was represented by former National Secretary of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Mr. Elijah Mohammed condemned the craving for oversea treatments by most Nigeria politicians, saying, â€œit is a complete embarrassment to the Nigeria medical professionals.â€
Ajayi who advised political office holders to urgently address the problem of infrasturctures in the health sector added that government should review the nationâ€™s health budgetary allocation as it does not show seriousness to the challenges on ground.
The President of the LUTH -ARD, Dr. O. Olaleye who expressed concerns on the health status of the nation said the global economic meltdown has crippled the financial capability of many citizens and institutions thus threatening the achievement of the set goals and objectives of the MDGs.
â€œThe association decided to discuss the effects of this impact of the global economic meltdown on healthcare delivery system, of our Nation and the resultant health implication which can hamper achieving better health statisticsâ€. He hinted.
Collaborating his views, the Chairman Local Organizing Committee of LUTH -ARD,Â Dr. Akinmokun Olasode said the theme of the conference, â€œThe Impact of Global Economic meltdown on Healthcare System in Nigeriaâ€ decision was informed by the fact that many patients are being affected by the financial meltdown and do not know much about NHIS.Â Olasode confirmed that the global economic meltdown is seriously affecting the management of their patients as many of them are not under NHIS but pay from their individual pockets.