Health Expert Advises NMA to Embrace Integrated Health, Patient-centered Care



Martins Ifijeh

As a response to a call by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on the federal government to shelve its planned harmonisation of salaries of health workers in the country, a Clinical Pharmacist and Independent Prescriber, Adaku Efuribe has called on the association to embrace the integrated healthcare idea and harmonisation for the benefits of patients.

NMA through its President, Dr. Mike Ogirima last week had said every healthcare professional cannot be said to be equal, as doctors were more skilled, few in the country and faced with more hazards in the discharge of their duties compared to other professions in the hospital. He further noted that even though all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.

But Efuribe said the statement came as a disturbing and rude shock, adding that one would have thought the overall health and well-being of the citizens of a nation like Nigeria would be priority in times like this.

“We do not have enough doctors in Nigeria to serve our ever growing population; the need for integrated healthcare cannot be over emphasised. I believe it is high time the NMA begins to have an open mind as to how we can run the healthcare system in Nigeria in order to make it a patient-centered care. Hierarchy for healthcare professionals should not be top of the scale of preference at the moment going by the realities of inadequacies in the area of Health care delivery in Nigeria.”

She said talking about everyone trying to accept the title of doctor would sound a bit odd to some people. “Some doctors I have worked with don’t mind being called by their first name, I’m not referring to junior doctors, and I mean consultants and Professors. We should be more bothered about the fact that the citizens of our country are engaging in medical tourism more than before, going to countries like India to seek medical intervention.

“The NMA says it is not against the proposed harmonisation of health workers salary in the country, but it should be ‘relative’. And I say let all healthcare professionals in Nigeria come together to deliberate on how to deliver excellent healthcare across the Nation.

“In 2017, healthcare professionals across the globe are more concerned about working together to deliver patient-centered care. We all have different roles to play; the medical doctors cannot achieve this on their own. I will advise the NMA to consider the common man on the street when making decisions or advising the federal government,” she added.

Efuribe, who is a healthcare promotion ambassador on self care, wellness and better healthcare, said to build an efficient health service delivery system, all healthcare workers’ salaries should be revised and harmonised so that people can be rewarded as well as gain some fulfillment for the services they offer, adding that the focus should not be relativity or superiority in my opinion.

“Every year, healthcare professionals leave the shores of Nigeria in their thousands in search of greener pastures; the harmonisation of salaries will reduce this outward exodus. All healthcare professionals in Nigeria should engage in CPD-continuous professional development to attain the much needed clinical skills to function effectively in their chosen area of competence,” she said.