From Tony Osauzo, Benin
THE Federal Government is set to revamp a total of 10,000 Primary Health Care (PHC) centers nationwide to meet healthcare needs of residents at the grassroots. As part of the plan, each state in the country is to get the sum of $1.5 million to drive the revitalisation of the PHC projects.
Meanwhile, federal government has borrowed a total of $500 million to boost healthcare system delivery in the country. Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire disclosed this in Benin City at the weekend, during the unveiling of the maiden edition of the Edo State Branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) journal titled,” Annals of medical and surgical practice”.
He explained that the essence of providing 10,000 PHC centre’s in all the 36 states of the federation was to ensure and provide quality health service delivery. Ehanire while lamenting the incessant strike in the health sector, noted that the role of the medical practitioners can not be over emphasized, stressing on the need for commitment and management on the part of the doctors to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
“There should be enough commitment towards developing the health sector. The problem with utilities is, largely, due to management challenges. A hospital is not run only by doctors. It is also run by nurses, other health professionals, auxiliary professions and also by managers and people who are not even medical doctors at all, such as the management engineers to, keep things going. We need improvement in all these sectors to be able to rival those countries where our people go to for medical treatment,” he said.
He frowned at the increase in medical tourism, noting that as critical as the health sector is, industrial disharmony and unhealthy rivalry among healthcare professionals, was inimical to growth and development of the sector, stressing that “too much strike in the health sector has compelled patients to seek alternative medical care in foreign countries”.
The ministetr pledged government commitment to avert issues of strike by the NMA, but called for patience amongst the health care practitioners to allow for understanding.
He appealed to members of the NMA to consider the lives of their patients first and “not jeopardize the lives of patients by going on strike. The matter of strike should be laid aside to let the federal government discuss with the NMA and other health stakeholders on a round table. We should not be looking for the slightest opportunity to abandon work. Nigeria should be a place for medical tourism and not the reverse, “ he advised
Earlier, Chairman of Edo State NMA, Prof. Afekhide Omoti said the journal is the first ever by Edo NMA to serve the purpose of encouraging scientific research and publication of discoveries in medical practice among medical doctors and other health professionals and added that,”such research will provide new knowledge on diseases and the ways to prevent and manage them”.