Government responsible for brain drain, poor health indices – NMA President
The President of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduliye has said until government at all levels provide adequate infrastructures, equipment and good working environment, among other measures for healthcare professionals, the country will continue to witness low health indices.
He said lack of funding for the health sector, as well as draconian laws and multiple taxations have prevented private healthcare providers from contributing to the sector’s growth, noting that the private sector caters for about 65 per cent of the country’s population.
Faduliye lamented that since the 2001 African heads of states’ meeting to allocate 15 per cent of the budget to the health sector, Nigeria’s contribution has been abysmally low.
“The health indices in the country is low because government isn’t putting adequate things in place,” he told The Guardian. “For example, all primary healthcare centres have collapsed, with most of them not functional. We don’t have doctors, machineries or proper health personnel, and that is at the healthcare level, where we see 70 per cent of our patients.”
He explained that rather than go to primary health centres, patients go to secondary and tertiary health institutions, which are for specialised cases, and has placed a huge monetary burden on patients.
“What it means is that what we should have used little amount of money to resolve, in terms of prevention or adequate information, we use millions of naira to take care of it at the tertiary institutions. Today, the doctor-patient ratio in Nigeria is terrible. Indeed, we have a myriad of accumulated problems causing low health indices.
But it’s solely on government’s part to do what is needful.
“Fifty to 60 percent of what we produce is going out of the country. If we retain all our medical personnel that are trained here, it would have improved the ratio. We have poor remuneration, the working environment is not good, very unstable government funding, inadequate chairs, beds and equipment, among other factors.”
He said doctors watch patients die daily and cannot intervene, due to inadequate equipment, which doctors find troubling.
He berated state governments owing medical doctors several months’ salaries without any attempt at paying.
To address these issues, he said: “The NMA is poised to set up town hall meetings to challenge them. We will come up with some blueprint on how to handle them.”
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