Commonwealth doctors, pharmacists set agenda for President-elect

COMMONWEALTH Medical Association (CMA) and pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have congratulated the President-elect, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, President Goodluck Jonathan and the Senator-elect for Edo South Senatorial District and Fellow of the Society, Matthew Urhoghide, while suggesting agenda for healthcare development in Nigeria.

Top on the agenda set for Buhari, according to a letter to the President-elect by the PSN is on Universal Health Coverage. The Society in a congratulatory letter accompanied by an agenda for healthcare in Nigeria and signed by its President, Olumide Akintayo, said the PSN considers it necessary that the in-coming All Progressive Congress (APC) administration come up with specific action plans on Universal Health Coverage by full incorporation of Community Based Social Health Insurance Programme (CBSHIP).

However, the CMA Vice President (West African Region), Dr. Osahon Enabulele wants the president-elect, once sworn in, to strive towards a ‘strict’ and ‘committed’ implementation of the National Health Act, which became law late last year.

Among other things, the CMA also wants the new government to restrict government’s funding of travels for foreign medical treatment by political and public office holders. It makes case for improved political commitment to Nigeria’s health sector and the fundamental health rights of Nigerians.

The PSN said there is a need for universal coverage, but the condition precedent is to harness and consolidate the philosophy of a managed care concept that is statute entrenched.

Akintayo said to achieve quality assurance in PSN’s version of social health insurance, it is important to encapsulate the following:

•Canvass a consolidated healthcare funding, which requires first line deduction of at least five per cent for healthcare delivery. This helps in funding the subsidy gap.

•Promote the culture of corporate social responsibility by enlisting support of the banking, oil and gas and telecoms sectors, which are the front liners in the Nigerian economy.

•The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) must partner the PSN and its appendages to champion a credible drug supply scheme by facilitating the involvement of major manufacturers and importers in the NHIS.

•We recommend that the NHIS Governing Council must re-establish linkages with the highest level of Government to nurture the required political will to ensure success for the Scheme.

•We also call for massive advocacy to sell the new Scheme to the Health consuming public and to ensure a proper understanding of the workings of Health Insurance by the Nigerian public.

•We note that one of the major functions of HMOs is the establishment of quality assurance system as earlier mentioned and regret the near absence of the important function. This explains why providers not qualified for particular functions were allowed to offer such services at the detriment of the enrollee.

•Aware of the important role cost containment plays in ensuring survival of the Scheme, we are recommending a set of incentives and sanctions to encourage providers to comply strictly with the operational guidelines.

CMA, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday by Enabulele called for the institution of globally competitive wages for medical doctors and health professionals, which he said should be backed with a robust and dynamic health human resource development plan.

Enabulele, a past President of the Nigerian Medical Association said: “Based on the President-elect’s antecedents in Nigeria’s quest to eradicate corruption and institute discipline and integrity in governance, we expect the President-elect and his team to work hard to restore public confidence in governance through institution of an all-inclusive and participatory government, the elimination of corruption and insecurity and strict adherence to the rule of law.”

He urged Nigerians to support the incoming federal to enable him keep faith with his promises to Nigerians.

The statement went on: “The West African Region of the Commonwealth Medical Association congratulates all Nigerians for the successful conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on Saturday, March 28, 2015. We also heartily congratulate rtd. Major General Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, on his victory at the Presidential elections.

“Similarly, we highly commend President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for midwifing an election that has been widely acknowledged as a substantially transparent, free and credible election. In particular, we hail the uncommon display of statesmanship and humility by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in courageously accepting defeat at the Presidential election, and by so doing stabilizing the Nigerian polity and averting any post-election crisis. We are convinced that by his exemplary gesture, he has enthroned a progressive democratic political culture in Nigeria.

“We call on the President-elect, Rtd. General Muhammadu Buhari, to sustain the tidal wave of expectations and legitimate aspirations of the long toiling people of Nigeria.”