The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari back to the country but charged him to replicate the medical equipment he saw in a London hospital where spent over three months to attend to his health.
The charge was contained in a communiqué issued and jointly signed by its national president and secretary general, Professor Mike Ozovehe Ogirima and Dr. Yusuf Tanko Sununu respectively after the body’s national executive council (NEC) meeting held in Kaduna.
Ogirima who read the communiqué called on the president to duplicate such facilities in Nigeria before 2019 saying Nigerian medical practitioners would have been able to handle his (president’s) health challenge if the health sector had been properly equipped and funded.
“We are happy that the president is back. Based on his experience, we are saying he should come and replicate what he has seen in London, at least to take care of the masses. So, we expect him to replicate such within the next two years.
“We have resolved to call on the President to utilize his positive experience in the health systems of other climes to impact on the health care system in Nigeria,” he said.
Ogirima stated that Nigerian doctors are competent to handle any form of ailment if enabling environment and good working tools are on ground, adding that the President may have sought for medical attention outside the shores of this country perhaps as a result of ill-equipped hospitals in the country.
“The nature of the president’s ailment is not known to NMA, and even if it is known to us, we have to respect our oath of secrecy. The President like every other citizen of this country has the right to seek second opinion that is part of medical practice. However, the doctors in Nigeria are capable of handling any ailment if optimal working conditions are provided.
“We have read and heard on BBC that, the President does not believe in the Nigerian health system. What was wrong by the President going outside? It is a fact that our hospitals are not optimally equipped. Am sure that, the President after spending 100 days in London has firsthand experience of what we have been shouting, equip! Equip! Upgrade our hospitals,” he added.
Furthermore, he said NMA felt strongly about the “continuous low budgetary allocation to health leading to declining health care service delivery in the country.”
“The the NEC observed with dismay the worsening availability, distribution, development and utilization of human resources for health within Nigeria’s health system and the increasing trend of brain drain especially affecting the already weakened man power base in the country.
“NEC calls on government to implement the Abuja Declaration of at least 15 percent budgetary allocation to health and ensure timely release of funds with effect from 2018 budget and appealed to the National Assembly to fast track the passage of the bill on Residency Training Program (RTP) in Nigeria.
“NEC calls for the improvement in Epidemic control, preparedness and establishment of more Infectious Disease Hospitals (IDH) throughout the country, and that the government to intensify efforts to improve funding on immunization services and further strengthen the collaboration between government and non governmental agencies,” he said.