By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJ – PRESIDENT Muhammad Buhari Thursday said that he was considering an upward review of budgetary allocation to the health sector to improve the quality and access to medical facilities across the country.
President Buhari stated this when he received the new executive of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the review of the budgetary allocation will reflect the government’s priority of ensuring that Nigerians get better healthcare, especially in specialized areas.
According to him, “We place quality healthcare on our priority list, and we are already marching on with the Primary Health Care services and some state governors have bought into it. We are committed to universal health care,’’ he said.
The President assured the leaders of the NMA that the White Paper from the Ahmed Yayale-led panel report on Inter-professional Harmony in the Healthcare Sector was already being considered by the government to ensure more organized and harmonized working relationships among medical practitioners.
President Buhari, however, urged the medical practitioners to always consider their profession as “divine call’’ especially in taking decisions that directly impact on the lives of Nigerians, adding that other means of negotiation for better working conditions should be explored instead of strikes.
“The medical profession is regarded as a divine call because of the strategic role you play in the lives of human beings,’’ he said.
The President commended the NMA and its members on some of the medical feats being achieved in Nigeria like the separation of conjoined twins, organ transplants, heart surgeries and treatment of cancer patients.
President Buhari noted that the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council would soon be constituted to further enhance service delivery and regulation of the sector.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ohanire, said a newly released basic health care provision would further focus on improving service delivery to Nigerians through the Primary Health Care.
President of the NMA, Dr Francis Adedayo, commended President Buhari for including members of the NMA in the Federal Executive Council and signing of the Medical Residency Training Act into law.
Adedayo urged the Federal Government to improve the budgetary allocation to the health sector as required by the Abuja Declaration which sets a benchmark of 15 per cent.
He said the speedy processing of the Ahmed Yayale report on harmony among practitioners in the medical sector will go a long way in enhancing service delivery and better working relationships.
The NMA president said the association had already reached out to the National Emergency Management Agency for stronger partnership in providing care for victims of disasters.