BY CHIOMA OBINNA
Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association has expressed worry over inability of President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the National Health Bill saying, the Bill if signed will bring back sanity in the country’s health system.
The NMA State Chairman, Dr. Temiye Edamisan who spoke in Lagos said non availability of legislation regulating the entire health system has stylishly silenced some important medical practices such as family medicine.
Speaking to Good Health weekly shortly after the Annual General Conference and Continue Medical Education tagged; “The Science and Art of Private Practice and Family Medicine,” Temiye said the engine of medical practice, which is the family medicine is no longer in Nigeria due to insufficient family physicians.
“The number of family physicians is very few in Nigeria. We are trying to expand that system. Beside that, the health system in Nigeria is not regulated. There is no law regulating the practice. Unfortunately, the only law that will start regulating it now, is not being delayed and we are worried,” he observed.
Temiye who argued that because some people in the health sector feel different about the Bill should not discourage the president from assenting to Bill explained that the Bill, modified from other countries would take care of every Nigerian.
“Again, because a portion of the Bill says a medical doctor must head the tertiary health commission should not bring problem. In that Bill, every regulatory body is recognised.
In that Bill too, there are primary healthcare commission and four or five other commissions and it did not mention that it will be a medical doctor that will be the head. That Bill is so supposed to care for children and adults.
A particular amount of money has been set aside to provide basic minimal healthcare for every Nigerian in that Bill. Yet, they don’t care about that, all they wanted is headship. I think something is wrong.”
On the issue more powers to the ministry, he explained that the Bill stipulates that no one manipulates an embryo or take a tissue from anybody except he or she is qualified to do so and must take permission from the head of the ministry which is the minister of health adding that it is the standard practice in places like the US. “This Bill is going to spread the health workers into the rural areas.”