Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed its resolve to deal with the problem of brain-drain afflicting the country’s medical profession and to translate it to brain-gain.
The body would today (Tuesday) flag off its second National Health Summit in Abuja where it hoped to articulate measures that would reverse the low points in the nation’s healthcare delivery system.
Addressing a press conference to herald the commencement of a four-day health summit, NMA President, Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile, said issues such as improving the Nigerian health indices, inter-professional relationship in the health sector, brain-drain and brain-gain would be discussed.
Others are: seeking ways to enhance the universal health coverage and to reverse medical tourism.
He added that this year’s summit would be pushing a new narrative to focus attention on a patient-centred care.
On the issue of brain-drain, Faduyile said: “We are looking at how we can reverse this probably bad situation to profit Nigerians. That is when we begin to make it a brain-gain.”
He explained that the main thrust of the drive is to get those Nigerians who have travelled out to acquire special skills to come back and transfer these knowledge and skills to their compatriots at home.
The summit is expected to play host to doctors from the Commonwealth countries.
Regarding the alleged suspension placed on the Ministry of Health preventing it from carrying out direct procurement, NMA urged the federal government to lift the suspension to enable the ministry perform its numerous tasks.
“NMA is not happy with the situation of things. We believe if the Ministry of Health has done something wrong, the ministry officials should be corrected. Persistently asking the Ministry of Agriculture to oversee the procurement in the Ministry of Health is not something that makes work go efficiently and effectively,” he said.
Faduyile added that one of the major achievements of the previous summit held in Asaba was the resolve of stakeholders to ensure the actualisation of the National Health Bill that was subsequently enacted by former president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
“That singular achievement changed the health policy of the nation because the NH Act is the only document detailing duties of the government concerning the health of its citizens. Furthermore, health has been made a justifiable right in Nigeria courtesy of Section 11 of the National Health Act (2014) and funding for a benefit package no matter how little guaranteed through at least one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund disbursed through statutory transfers as first line charge.
“NMA makes bold to claim that it was her efforts joined by those of her partners that made this happen,” he said.
He added that the summit’s opening ceremony would be performed by President Muhammadu Buhari, and General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) who would be the Chairman.