… Urges Govt to declare state of emergency in health sector

By Chioma Obinna

Medical doctors under the aegis of the Medical Guild have expressed worry that despite Nigeria losing 2,000 trained doctors to brain-drain every year, the country barely produces half of the number annually.

The Lagos doctors also urged governments at all levels to declare a state of emergency in the health sector to tackle the mounting problems bedevilling the public health system.

Addressing journalists in Lagos ahead of its 2022 annual general meeting and scientific conference billed to begin today, the Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Sa’eid Ahmad: Nonetheless, continued migration of doctors abroad has resulted among others heavy workload on those practitioners remaining, with risk of worsening indices.

While calling on the government to address the problem, he said: “We cannot address an existential problem through the same ineffective ‘normal’ bureaucratic routines that led us here”

To address the numerous problems currently plaguing the health sector, he said the upcoming year’s budgetary allocation to health must decidedly meet the World Health Organisation, WHO, minimum of 15 per cent total allocation and without indirect-nomination’.

“Rather than spend this budget on constructing new health institutions, existing ones should be upgraded with emphasis on medical human resources retention strategies. Drugs don’t prescribe themselves and surgeries are not performed by concrete and project signposts, doctors, humans do!

“While acknowledging the strides of Lagos State over and above all others, we hereby call for a deliberate ‘budge of Health System redemption’ in the coming year, with, for once, direct incentive provisions for doctors and other health workers. In addition, Ahmad said there must be a consideration for housing mortgage facilities that would not throw the doctor into an open market they sure can never compete in. Much as was deliberately done for state judges, some years ago, and for good reason, this is the least lifesavers deserve.”

The Medical Guild Chairman also called for state government-guaranteed car loan facilities to alleviate the sufferings of living far from work.

He said there must be a clear and accessible medical indemnity for medical and health workers. “In the meantime, no government-employed medical/health worker must have to pay for treatment received in a government hospital, Ahmad added.

The theme of the conference is: “Existential Challenges of Medical Personnel Retention and Resources Management in an Emerging World Class Health System; the Real Issues and the Lagos Panacea”

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