Medical directors task government on harassment of doctors
FG Seeks Partnership On National Emergency Ambulance Service
The Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) has said the Federal Government should use the recently introduced National Emergency Medical and Ambulance Services (NEMSAS) to address police harassment of doctors, while attending to bullet wound emergencies.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has solicited support of the private sector for successful implementation of NEMSAS, launched to ensure prompt provision of emergency health care services.
President of the Guild, Prof Femi Dokun-Babalola, who made the appeal, when members of the Guild and the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) met with the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire in Abuja, lamented that doctors often get harassed and even arrested for attending to bullet wound emergencies, while patients are rejected for various flimsy reasons, even when referred to tertiary institutions.
Dokun-Babalola said patients often refuse to pay after being attended to. He stressed the need for a mutually agreed tariff system of payment for emergencies in private hospitals.
He said the private sector should be carried along in the Emergency Ambulance service, as about 70 per cent of all consultations and emergencies occur in that area.
He said: “To clarify some doubts among our members, we organised a virtual meeting to educate on the NEMSAS initiative and dispel rumours…
“While Dr. Ogedegbe was able to address many of the issues, it is clear that the buck stops at the Honourable Minister of Health’s table and by extension, the Federal Government. One of the issues is the guarantee of payment for services rendered. It is instructive that, today, many contractors are owed lots of money for lengthy periods, even after verifiably completing assigned projects. Our experience with Health Management Organisations and the NHIS has not been palatable in this regard, and is a subject of continuous concern.”
President of AGPMPN, Dr. Ugwu Iyke Odo, said Emergency medical service is a national project, but will be 70 per cent driven by the private sector.
He noted that though N100b intervention fund had been made available to the health sector, most private medical practitioners have not been able to access it, due to high interest rate. “As doctors, who take care of lives, we need a bailout as given to the banking, agriculture and other sectors.”Ehanire said the cornerstone of human capital development is the health sector.
“ We have infrastructure deficit,” he said. “There is a lot to catch up in the road, rail and agriculture sectors. COVID-19 has crippled many things and we are starting afresh. National Emergency Ambulance Service is where citizens can be provided services when they need it, and that is where you know a country that takes care of its citizens. Government has to partner the private sector to make the initiative work…”
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunmibe Mamora said: “Nigeria’s health system needs surgical intervention, and if not done urgently, we will be going round in a circle. This is due to accumulated decay over the years and health insurance is one of the ways to fund the health sector. Workers’ attitude is another issue that needs to be addressed.”