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NMA decries elite over continuous medical attention abroad

By Anietie Akpan (Calabar) and Charles Coffie Gyamfi (Abeokuta)   |   01 May 2017   |   4:30 am

Doctors

Cleric seeks psychiatric hospitals for looters
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has decried the country’s continuous promotion of medical tourism abroad, especially by government officials.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its 57th Annual General Conference and Delegates Meeting (AGC/ADM) in Calabar yesterday, it noted with dismay the tendency with which some Nigerian elites and politicians seek medical attention abroad even for minor ailments.

The communiqué, signed by its National President, Prof. Mike Ozovehe Ogrima and Secretary General Dr. Yusuf Tanko Sununu charged the Federal Government to put in place measures that would check medical tourism abroad as this was not good for the country.

“The absence of facilities for medical entrepreneurs who desire to establish world class hospitals that can compete favourably with similar institutions in developed countries, is worrisome. But the appetite foreign medical treatment is even worse when such expertise exists within the country,” it said.

The NMA therefore, advocated for a single digit interest rate on loan facilities for its members who want to establish such world class hospitals in the country.

The doctors also lamented the deteriorating infrastructure in public hospitals, bad road networks, poor electricity supply, high rate of kidnapping and armed robbery across the country and called for an urgent attention.

The NMA said it was disappointed at government effort to harmonize salaries of the various cadres in the Ministry of Health in spite of the long existing relativity in salary in the civil service as seen in other ministries and parastatals.

It added that government’s continuous silence on the Yayale Ahmed committee report which contained the ingredients for improved inter-professional relationships within the health sector was not in order.

“The casualisation of medical doctors and non-release of the white papers on many committee reports is regrettable. The National Assembly needs to speed up the operationalization of the National Health Act and providing legal backing to the Residency Training Programme,” it added.

The association therefore called on the Federal Government “to ensure implementation and adherence to our collective agreements to forestall unnecessary and avoidable industrial disputes and to release the white paper on the Yayale Ahmed report”.

Commenting on the issue of medical tourism during the dinner and award night, the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Olanrewaju Tejuoso assured that government will not renege on its campaign promise of banning senior government officials from medical tourism abroad but it first has to optimize the healthcare system in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Anglican Church, Egba Diocese in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Reverend Emmanuel Adekunle yesterday stressed the need for the expansion and extension of psychiatric institutions in the country to treat looters who stashed funds away in foreign countries.

The Cleric gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the second session of the 14th Synod of the Church in Abeokuta, and described the recent discoveries of looted funds in buildings, shops and other places by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as ‘insane,’ saying that there was need for the looters to have their heads examined in psychiatric hospitals.




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