1ST NMA SUMMIT
* Top Nigerian Doctors offer solutions
* Experts Access Medical Profession
* What people think about Doctors!
Top Nigerian Doctors drawn from various areas of the medical and non medical profession, ranging from Doctors who are political office holders, heads of medical institutions, vice chancellors of universities, heads of medical Association, doctors in private and public practice, gathered together in Asaba, Delta State, last month, to offer solutions, to the problems of the Nigeria Heath, as well as ways to move Healthcare delivery forward in Nigeria.
The occasion was tagged, the Nigerian Medical Association NMA, 1st National Health Summit, which took place for one week in Asaba at the event place on Okpanam Road.
Some of the key resource persons who spoke at the event include Prof. I.F. Adewale, who was the guest lecturer, Senator Dr. Chris Ngige (onwa), Professor Gyon, Professor Eugine Okpere, Professor Nwalolo, Professor Ifeoma Egbuonu, Professor Alipede, Professor Adenike Grange ,Pharmacist Olumide Kayode, MS Anne Ogere, Dr. Jacob Attah Akoh, Professor Akenzue, Professor GTN Ajakpo Mr. Godwin Odemijie, Dr. Nwakama, Professor Dili Dogo, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Professor Adewale Atoyibi, Professor Kalid Lawal,and Professor MC Asuzu who chaired a session each.
According to the summit steering/planning committee, the NMA National Health Summit purpose include to develop plans to strategically reposition the NMA/Medical Profession, produce practicable plans to synthesize/develop an NMA strategic policy plan of action that is responsive to the futuristic needs and challenges (internal and external) of NMA/Medical and Dental Profession.
Top of its agenda is to develop a blue print and practical framework for reforming/improving Nigeria’s Healthcare system.
Right from day 1 of the event, the summit witnessed solutions upon solutions being offered by resource persons, special guest, including 4 states governors and others to the numerous problems facing the NMA, Doctors and Nigerian Health.
It started on Sunday with a courtesy call on the Asagba of Asaba, HRH Obi (Prof.) C. Edozien, by NMA National Executives led by Dr. Osahon Enabulele (president), Dr. Bukar Grema (1st Vice president), Dr. Uche Ojinmah (2nd vice president), Dr. Akapufuoma I. Pemo (secretary general) and other National Executives and Elders which included past presidents of NMA.
The monarch a medical doctor also heartily welcomed them and pointed out that the FG should decentralize process of constituting boards of Health Institutions that will allow inputs from the Host communities.
Later in the day, the Delta State Government hosted the NMA delegates to a cock tail party to welcome participants from the states for the summit at the main government House in Asaba.
Senator David Mark, the Senate president, declared open the summit on Monday and called on the participants to make useful recommendations that will help government to achieve efficient Healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.
In his keynote address, the Hon Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi C. Chukwu commended NMA for the initiative to convey the summit. He said “It could not be more appropriate, especially given the theme of the summit which is aimed at finding lasting solution to key professional, inter professional and structural challenges in the Nigerian Healthcare sector in other to reposition medical profession and Healthcare delivery system for National development”.
The NMA president, Dr. Osahon Enabulede formerly welcomed participants to the summit. He said that summit is billed to provide thoughtful discussions and introspections by all stakeholders in other to chart a new course of healthcare for the sector.
In their good will messages, Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia State while commending NMA, stressed the fact that there must be healthcare facilities and infrastructure for efficient service delivery by their practitioners. He wanted the summit to look into the role of traditional doctors or healers and how they can be streamlined.
Gov. Comd Adams Oshimole of Edo State raised concern on insistent strikes by doctors without regards for patients care under their control, leading to loss of lives.
According to him, the NLC often allowed clinics to be opened during strikes because of strategic importance, therefore doctors cannot abandoned their patients to die on account of demanding for increased wages and allowances, he wants them to look for better conflict resolution mechanism. Doctors should be committed to duty not mixing public and private practice.
Also the Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi CON, maintained in his goodwill message, that health is a critical component for National development, and will be crucial in achieving the MDG goals. He said he had problem with his state doctors over issues arising from National minimum wage, even though it wasn’t his intention but no two states is equal especially in the federating unit.
The Delta State Governor, Dr. E.E. Uduaghan, the host Governor, responded to some of the issues raised by his colleagues, that wages should not be negotiated by FG on behalf of the state. He bemoaned quackery and cases of raising quackery and wants NMA to collaborate with government to fight the scourge. He called on doctors to join politics to solve problems and that the issue of strike must be prevented by looking inwards.
TOP NIGERIAN DOCTORS OFFER SOLUTIONS
Com Ayuba Wamba, president of medical and Health workers union of Nigeria MHWUN advocated the implementation of Shonekan review panel on remuneration and recommendations of committee on disharmony in health sector.
The guest lecturer, Professor I.F. Adewole called for a return to professionalism, applauding capt Idris Wada, Governor of Kogi state, for his confidence in Nigerian doctors and health system and appreciated doctors who perform under adverse conditions. He said the way forward include changes in medical school curriculum, professionalism, screening and interviewing interested medical students, Academic medicine Ph.D after part 1 (introduction of it), NMA to monitor release of budgetary allocation.
He said government must invest in Health to make MDG’s work, and doctors should have a moratorium on strike for 5 years or more, that no strike should hold without National approval, if strike is to happen, leave out critical areas like life saving points: labour, accident and emergency unit, ICU etc.
Senator Dr. Chris Ngige advised doctors to find alternative to strike, and that they have lost ‘public respect’ through frivolous strike and aggressive search for money.
He advocated that public and resource management should be added to medical education to aid doctors when they become CMD or MD in institutions. Senator Ngige called on doctors to join politics, and that public hearing of National health Bill will soon begin, and unfair areas will be sorted out: ‘Doctors’ According to him should reach 70 years as retirement age and civil service rule reviewed for them.
Dr. Dominic Osghahare, another speaker recommended measures that will make NMA and its affiliates to act as ‘father’ and ‘son’.
Prof. Gyon in his paper medical and dental practice regulations, revealed that consultants have no moral right to go on strike and that resident doctors are not allowed to go on strike. he Advised doctors to update their knowledge through CPD, CME activities and internet, and not to certify what you are not competent of. He said MDCN has investigative arm and a tribunal with status of high court.
On a controversial issue, Prof. Gyon said doctors do not need police report to attend to people, no law like that, the doctor should report patients with suspicious wounds to the police or let them clearify themselves. He advocated that tertiary hospitals should be encouraged to be set up by foreigners as it will serve as an opportunity to advance medicine in Nigeria.
The Delta State Governor, Dr. E.E. Uduaghan suggested that Doctors rejecting of patients on account of deposit of funds should not be, that they should treat the patient and apply for refund after treatment at FMOH, and that NMA constitution should be given to all graduating medical students.
Prof. Ademike Grange in her talk, advocated for establishment of family health department in FMOH, and for engagement of state governments in the country, who still have majority of health sector.
She said Nigeria should try to be like India, which manufacturers all her drugs, Nigeria should have free access to maternal health, each LGA to have at least one medical officer of Health, curriculum review for NYSC doctors to act as back up for PHC, for surgery in rural areas.
Prof. Eugene Okpere speaking on medical education and training said entry into clinical dept should be based on fellowship (lecturer I or II), while Prof. Nwalolo, Sec. WACS in his paper ‘post graduate medical Training’ suggested curriculum review that will see Basic surgical skills within 3 months and rural posting of doctors in school (3 – 6 months under supervision).
Prof. Alipede of committee of CMDS/MDS recommended need for a standing committee for all these stakeholders, establishment of Health Service commission, adequate funding of teaching Hospital etc.
Gov. Uduaghan said that office of the minister for Health should not be allowed open for anybody, but doctors. According to him, minister of Health just like Attorney general of federation or surgeon general, and so is exclusive to doctors, and should be entrenched in the constitution.
Another expert advocated for a fund from which doctors can borrow at low interest to set up medical institutions of world class standards.
EXPERTS ACCESS MEDICAL PROFESSION
At the summit, experts Accessed medical profession, and gave it various results. They revealed that Nigeria has over 10,000 doctors abroad with 3000 leaving the country in 2005. From this number, the MDCN receive 2 letters almost every week from GP sanctioning doctors trained in Nigeria, not on competence but morality and ethical conduct. These are then reflected in the doctors file in Nigeria.
The president of pharmacist society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharmacist Kayode Olumide, also buttressed that medical doctors need to work in management skills. They have so many wrong assumptions, that often make them look down on other health professionals despite their educational qualifications and experiences, giving instances were pharmacist graduates will be disrespected (claiming they did not get admission to medical school, that is why they choose pharmacy). More importantly he denied the view that pharmacist wrestle to take away the prescription right of the doctor.
MS Anne Ogere, representing NANNM emphasized that inter department relationship has deteriorated badly unlike what it used to be in the past. She wants rotational leadership, especially when an experienced non medical professional is available.
WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT DOCTORS.
According to the summit organizers, the role of Nigerian medical doctors in development has been critically appraised in recent times from within the medical profession by the practitioners themselves and by large sections of the Nigerian society. It has become common place to ridicule the practice, attitude and conduct of the Nigerian doctor on every available news media by either aggrieved or uniformed persons. They have been variously accused of only championing selfish most often, pecuniary demands in their agitations leaving their prime-most role as custodians of the health of Nigerians unattended to.
They note that ‘in place of team approach to care led by the doctor, we now have a daily demand for doctors to quit the leadership of the health care team and environment, despite the result of recent studies in the USA which clearly showed that hospitals headed by doctors were doing for better than those run by the so called hospital administrators with their MBAs and Ph.Ds. A local example was the failure of cost to run the Nation Hospital Abuja between 2002 and 2004. A ten year contract was terminated in less than two years due to their colossal failure. Nigerian doctors came to the rescue. Things must change for the better’.
The organizers said that there is an organized gang up against the doctor to ensure that nothing works, so that the slogan/blackmail “the doctor is a poor administrator’ will find expression.
Health Summit Conclusion
The health summit organized by NMA ended with a tour of medical facilities set up by Delta State government. The host NMA (Delta State), led by Dr. M O. Osarenkhoe (chairman) and Dr. R.O. C. Ikwuogu (Secretary) deserve a pat also on the back as well as Deputy Gov. Delta Professor Amos Agbe Utuama SAN and commissioner for health Delta Dr. Joseph Sisanm Otumara for a job well done, and so also the sponsors, – Delta State Government, shell petroleum Development Company, Standard Alliance group, JNC international Ltd. Nordica fertility center, Pfizer and BCN Plc.
The 2nd National NMA summit will take place in Edo State