President Goodluck Jonathan
By Toba Suleiman
Members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Ekiti State chapter have criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for allegedly delaying assent to the National Health Bill (NHB) which they said have since been passed by the National Assembly
The position of the body was contained in a communique signed at the end of a week-long annual general meeting held between July 28 and August 3, where new executive was elected to pilot the affairs of the medical body.
The communique, signed by its newly-elected Chairman and General Secretary, Dr Obitade Obimakinde and Dr Kamal Alabi, respectively and made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend, further condemned the attitude of the President for allegedly withholding assent beyond 180 days as prescribed by 1999 Constitution.
According to NMA, withholding of assent by the President beyond 180 days after the passage of the bill by the National Assembly would further constitute serious impediment , since it has to be represented before the Federal Parliament for revalidation.
Other executive members elected include first Vice-Chairman, Dr. Elegbede O.E., second Vice-Chairman, Dr Olajide T.G, Assistant General Secretary, Dr. Oshatimi A.M, Treasurer, Dr. Oso A.M, Publicity Secretary, Dr. Babalola O.W, Financial Secretary, Dr. Adelekan E.O and Dr. Ekundare A.M, as Social Secretary.
While enumerating the relevance of the bill to health sector, NMA maintained that signing of the bill into law would have enhanced unhindered health care delivery to all Nigerians.
It maintained that the law would have protected women, children and people with disabilities rights’ to affordable health care in the country, which it described as a veritable weapon to reduce children and maternal mortality rates in Nigeria.
The communique also called on Governor Kayode Fayemi to fast-track the implementation of the approved consolidated salary structures for doctors and allied medical workers at the local government level in the state.
While calling for the upgrading of medical facilities at all levels of medical care in the state, the body maintained that the state has enough manpower in the health sector with low infrastructural development for optimum utilisation of their potentials.
Also, the body lamented the shabby treatment being meted out to their retired members, saying their benefits must be regularized and paid based on CONMESS rather than through the old salary structure.