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Family doctors seek rebirth, revolution in health sector

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By Chioma Obinna

To mark this year’s World Family Doctors’ Day, family doctors in Lagos have said that to save the Nigeria health system from total collapse, there is need for a rebirth in the sector as well as a health revolution that would allow public servants, including medical practitioners, to do things differently.

Addressing a press conference recently to mark the day in Lagos, the Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, AGPMPN, Dr Tunji Akintade, who lamented the many challenges facing the country’s health system, stressed the urgent need for a change in the sector.

Akintade regretted that it is now a popular tradition for senior public servants including leaders at all levels, to seek medical treatment abroad for the slightest health challenge, including routine medical check-up.

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Condemning the shutdown of the private bill to regulate overseas treatment of Nigerian public servants by Nigerian lawmakers, he urged public servants to stop paying lip service to health care development in the country.

He said overseas treatment embarked upon by public servants would jeopardise efforts aimed at developing the Nigeria health system.

Noting that doctors leaving the country was not a solution, he said: “The solution lies in the rebirth of the health sector and a health revolution that will allow us to think differently and act differently, having the life and comfort of every Nigerian in mind, eager to build a compassionate nation where the life of every Nigerian has value and is respected and this lies in a new leadership orientation.” On the role of family doctors, he explained that they have strategic roles to play in the provision of health services.

Akintade said the World Organisation of Family Doctors had set aside every May 19 to celebrate the contributions of doctors to the health care delivery system of nations across the world. “The day provides family doctors the opportunity to reminisce, not only on their long journey into prominence and relevance, but to showcase the pivotal role they have continued to play in nation-building and global health.”

Speaking, former President, AGPMPN, Dr Anthony Omolola, stressed the need for the government to strengthen the nation’s primary healthcare system for better healthcare services.  Omolola said without a good and viable primary health system, the nation will not make any headway in health services, particularly in universal healthcare  coverage.

On the world family doctor’s day, he explained that family doctors are the most essential doctors in the society providing the most essential services to the critical mass of the population in a comprehensive way.

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