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Rheumatologists advise Nigerians to embrace HIS

By Paul Adunwoke
01 October 2022   |   4:25 am
The Nigerian Society of Rheumatology (NSR), has reiterated the need for all Nigerians to enrol in Health Insurance Scheme (HIS), to reduce out-of-pocket payment, and to achieve universal health care coverage

Doctor during a checkup

The Nigerian Society of Rheumatology (NSR), has reiterated the need for all Nigerians to enrol in Health Insurance Scheme (HIS), to reduce out-of-pocket payment, and to achieve universal health care coverage across the country.

Its President, Dr. Akintayo Oguntona, said the treatment of rheumatic health conditions had become more expensive, including the drugs.

Oguntona made the call at the association’s Scientific and General Congress, held in Lagos.

Tagged: The Burden and Management of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disease in low Resources Setting, he said: “The congress was an opportunity for rheumatologists to discuss topical issues affecting them.”

He admitted that in the past, it was difficult to see rheumatology conditions in black people, but now, we have 60 rheumatologists in Nigeria to cater for over 200 million Nigerian population.

The Patron of Rheumatologists in Nigeria, Prof. Olufemi Adelowo, said the congress would have been held earlier but for COVID-19 pandemic.

He said there was an increasing awareness worldwide on the significance of systemic auto-immune disorder. Some authorities have actually put these and other auto-immune diseases as constituting 12 to 15 percent of all medical conditions.

Adelowo said medical science has, however, risen to the management of these conditions, starting with the discovery of steroids, immunosuppressive and biologics.

He said scientists have kept these otherwise confounding diseases well within the realm of effective treatment.

The Patron said NSR had grown from a single rheumatologist in the 80s, 90s, to about 60 presently. There is also a paediatric rheumatologist, the first in West Africa, however, many home-trained rheumatologists have also left to seek greener pastures in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

The Guest Speaker and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), Dr. Ibrahim Mustapha, said the board was committed to ensuring every patient gets access to quality health care service at the grassroots, including rheumatology patients.

He said training and retraining health workers was one of the best ways to improve health care delivery in Lagos and Nigeria, at large, including encouraging research and innovations among health workers.

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