By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State government has urged regulatory agencies in the health sector including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to take the fight against quackery and other unhealthy practices to save lives.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo made the call when Executives of the Nigerian Medical Association, Bayelsa State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit in Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement, assured the NMA of the current administration’s readiness to give it all necessary support to check unethical medical practices that cause avoidable deaths in the state.
His words, “The doors of the state government will remain open for collaboration with the NMA in our quest to improve healthcare delivery for our people. We want our people to be healthy to enjoy the prosperity we are working hard to bring.
“On the issue of quackery, I want the NMA to look inwards and come up with measures to fish out the impostors among you. You must be able to regulate yourselves. That is what we do as lawyers. Nobody will take your legal documents (no matter how well written) seriously without the approved seal.
“That is why you see lawyers renewing their licenses whenever they expire. NMA can do the same by ensuring that every prescription you write must carry a seal and not just your name and signature. The NMA and other health regulatory bodies should take the fight against quackery a lot more seriously.
“On our part, we are going to make a law that will regulate the practice of traditional medicine here and also try to send a message to the media houses that for them to advertise a claim, they have to be sure of the claim, so we don’t continue to endanger the health of our people.
“You can be sure that we are committed to the wellbeing of the people of the state because we are convinced that if our people are not healthy they cannot enjoy prosperity.”
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On the issue of multiple medical training schools, he described the establishment of the Bayelsa Medical University (BMU) and other health institutions as part of efforts to provide the much-needed manpower to drive the health sector of the state.
“The BMU and nursing institute we are going to build in Sampou will help to provide the manpower we need to drive the health sector. I disagree that health is about structures. My conviction about health is that it is about human resources. So, if we focus on them we will achieve more,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the NMA, Bayelsa State chapter, Dr. Ngowari Torunana, had stated that the purpose of the visit was to seek areas of partnership with the state government to improve the health sector.
Dr. Torunana commended the present administration’s strides in the health sector so far, especially for sustaining the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme and the proactive measures taken to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While expressing NMA’s willingness to partner government to develop the state health sector, the Chairman appealed for support in the fight against quackery, streamlining of state-owned health training institutions, and improved welfare for medical practitioners.