From Gyang Bere, Jos
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has urged the Federal Government to establish a National Health Bank that would provide single digit interest loans to the private sector for the establishment of world-class health facilities in the country.
President of the association, Prof. Innocent Ujah, made the call while addressing newsmen in Jos, yesterday.
Ujah said that the establishment of the bank would reduce the spate of medical tourism and increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the country.
According to him, health care is very expensive, and that the health bank would enable the private sector to get money at a reduced interest rate to provide more world class health care facilities in the country.
He said said the association was battle ready to engaged Federal Government on the payment of frontline health workers hazard allowance.
He noted that federation government after pressure and the unnecessary last strike paid the hazard and inconvenience allowances to the frontline workers and stop after three months.
“We are going to reactivate machineries and resume dialogue with government on the health hazard, inconvenience and risk of work allowance.
“We are not asking government anything extra ordinary rather than providing the enabling environment to work. We know that we are working in a very harsh in an environmental circumstances.
“When we talk about the COVID-19, we want to be protected. In giving life first, you need to be protected and this come through training of health practitioners in special prevention and control and NMA doesn’t have the fund and government has to do that.
“We also need motivation for the Nigerian doctors to show commitment and loyalty towards their work. We are saying that the inconveniences and hazard allowance should be paid commiserate with the risk that we are facing.
“Nobody can buy life, we don’t have life health insurance for doctors and other health workers. The inconvenience and hazard allowance must be improved upon, it is inadequate to say you are paying hazard allowance to doctors.
“Doctors and other health workers should be motivated to work and this is a very dangerous period. We will resume dialogue with government on the hazard allowance and when we say Government we do not mean Federal Government alone, we have state government.”
Prof. Ujah called on Federal and State Governments to establish oxygen plants to save innocent lives from the deadly COVID19 pandemic in the country.
He lamented that conducting research for a breakthrough on COVID-19 vaccine is costly and said Nigeria doesn’t have the political will to push for a local search for the COVID-19 vaccine.
He also called for the establishment the Office of the Surgeon-General of the Federation, which would provide Nigerians with the best scientific information available to improve their health and reduce the risk of illnesses.
The president said that the task of the Surgeon-General would be to promote and advance the health of the nation.
Similarly, he urged the federal government and State Governments to provide a conducive working environment for health workers, especially doctors, to reduce the spate of brain drain in the health sector.
He also called on the government to form a team to critically address the issues of brain drain and medical tourism in the country.