COVID-19: Nigeria’s Health System Is Weak, We Cannot Afford To Get Overwhelmed – NMA President



The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for urgent proactive measures to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

NMA President, Dr Fancis Faduyile, who made the call on Thursday believes Nigeria cannot take the chance of getting overwhelmed with the present condition of its health sector.

“Nigeria, we must know, is not a very rich country; her patients are not very capable of getting all the necessary payment for health and the health system is weak,” he stated during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Faduyile warned, “We cannot afford to get overwhelmed before we will start asking for whatever can be done for us to identify people who are positive, and for us to be able to quickly isolate them.

“The more we keep them in the community, the higher the risk of them infecting other members.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records Three More COVID-19 Deaths


Curbing COVID-19 Infection

He revealed that the NMA was working with other medical bodies to validate some of the mass screening kits for COVID-19.

The NMA president added that as soon as they notice that some of the validated kits give fairly accurate results, they would advise the government to embark on the mass screening of Nigerians.

Noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to approve any kit to test for COVID-19, he stressed that every country has a way of developing home-grown methods to resolve its challenges.

He said, “Nowadays, we are having patients who are coming to the hospital and are not given adequate treatment because attending physicians are not sure of the status of the patients.

“This is where the mass screening test will come in and can help in resolving some of the issues that we are facing generally.”

“It is important for us to stress that it is the testing that will help in the containment of this COVID-19 infection because until we test a large number of Nigerians and those who are positive are identified and possibly isolated, it is at that time that we know that we are going in the right direction to be able to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Faduyile insisted.

He commended the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for improving it testing capacity to discover more infections in the country.

The NMA President, however, described the total number of tests conducted so far as a far cry from what he expected.

NMA Proposes Five Years Health Strategic Plan

NMA Proposes Five Years Health Strategic PlanThe Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has proposed a five-year strategic plan focusing on improving healthcare delivery across the country.

The NMA President, Professor Mike Ogirima, made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja, at a conference to present a draft copy of the strategic plan to stakeholders in the sector.

Professor Ogirima noted that the strategic plan, which pushes for the operationalisation of the 2014 National Health Act, if implemented would help to reduce the burden of diseases among rural dwellers in Nigeria.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Mohammed Usman, admitted the failure of government to implement some policies targeted at improving the healthcare system.

On the sideline of the event, Chairman of the National Immunisation Financing Task Team, Ben Anyenele, urged the NMA to harness its potentials and save the health sector.

The Federal Ministry of Health’s facility census for 2011 indicates that over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s 34,173 health facilities are located in the cities. In 2014, the NMA puts the ratio of hospital beds to a patient at 10,000 patients to a bed.

Experts believe that the implementation of a national strategic plan aimed at strengthening the health sector will reduce the challenges in the sector.

NMA Decries Neglect Of National Health Act

Health, NMA, Nigerian Medical AssociationThe leadership of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has decried the non-implementation of the National Health Act by the Federal Government since the bill was passed in 2014.

The NMA President, Professor Mike Ogiri, raised the concern at a press conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The gathering was convened on Monday to draw the attention of the government to issues affecting the nation’s health sector.

Professor Ogiri said that members of the association would stage a nationwide protest to demand for the implementation of the health act.

He expressed optimism that the demonstration would address most of the challenges facing the sector and proffer solutions for possible implementation by the government.

He also mentioned the slow progress of universal health coverage through the National Health Insurance Scheme as a major factor facing the health sector in Nigeria.

“As part of this year’s NMA week, the NMA and her 37 branches and affiliates have agreed to stage a walk on October 26.

“This is aimed at demanding for the implementation of the National Health Act as passed in 2014 by the federal government.

“It is our belief that the implementation of that act will address some of the aforementioned challenges being experienced in this economic recession,” Prof Ogiri said.



FG Will Honour All Valid Agreements, Buhari Tells Doctors

Muhammadu Buhari - DoctorsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has urged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to shelve its threatened strike and give the Federal Government more time to address the  doctor’s grievances.

Speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Thursday in Abuja, President Buhari gave the doctors an assurance that no agreements duly entered into by the Federal Government would be dishonoured by his administration.

The President called for greater understanding and support from doctors and all Nigerians in view of the present short fall in national revenue brought about by the decline of crude oil prices.

Decrying the adverse impact of the fall in oil prices on the Federal Government’s spending plans for health and other sectors, he said that his administration would continue to do its best to address issues that were of concern to doctors and other Nigerians.

The President also gave the NMA delegation an insight into his administration’s plan to establish 10,000 primary healthcare centres across Nigeria in the next two years with the objective of providing better healthcare for at least 100 million Nigerians.

He also told the delegation led by the NMA President, Dr. Kayode Obembe, that the National Health Act would soon be gazetted and a steering committee appointed to oversee its implementation.

In his remark, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, described the plan to establish more healthcare centres as “the single most ambitious health plan for the poor in the history of Nigeria”.

In his reaction, Dr. Obembe called for the implementation of the report of the Yayale Ahmed Committee on better relations among professional groups in the health sector.

He also called for fast-tracking of the implementation of the National Health Act.

At a separate meeting with the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), President Buhari promised that his administration would evolve and implement measures to curb friction and disharmony among the professional groups in the health sector.

The President urged the PSN to work more closely with the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to curb the sale of fake medicines in Nigeria.

The President of the PSN, Ahmed Yakasai, assured the President that pharmacists in Nigeria were ready to work in harmony with other professionals in the health sector to help the Federal Government achieve its objective of improving healthcare services.

Doctors Suspend Planned Strike

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has suspended its impending industrial action scheduled to commence on Monday, January 6, 2014.

The Association made this declaration to the media at the end of its emergency National Executive Council (E-NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Saturday, January 4, 2014, to reappraise the efforts made so far to resolve their demands.

The NEC, while noting the several appeals made by Nigerians and the media for more time to be given by NMA for dialogue with government, also noted the efforts and the personal commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government of Nigeria to address some of the demands of the association.

In a statement signed by the President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the association directed all medical and dental practitioners nationwide to “continue to render their normal and highly cherished services to the lovely and caring people of Nigeria.”

The statement reads: “The National Executive Council of the Nigerian Medical Association has resolved to suspend for now her earlier directive to all medical and dental practitioners in Nigeria to withdraw their services from Monday, January 6, 2014 to allow for full implementation of all the elements of the MOU within the government set time lines.”

The said Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was reached at the end of the meeting held on Thursday, January 2, 2014 between the Nigerian Medical Association and the Federal Government, wherein appeals were made to the NMA by government for more time for the resolution of outstanding demands.

The statement also highlighted as being behind their decision, some welcome developments in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached between the NMA and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

These include the decision by the Federal Government to “redress the gross injustice done to doctors, establishment of a Hospital Development and Intervention Fund (HDIF) for health infrastructural upgrade, appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation, and expansion of Universal Health Coverage.”

The doctors’ body embarked on a 5-day warning strike from Wednesday, December 18 to Sunday, December 22, 2013, with a further declaration to proceed on a total strike from Monday January 6, 2014 if their demands before the Federal Government of Nigeria were not addressed.

Their demands bothered amongst others on the absence of a regulatory environment for practice in the healthcare sector, funding of healthcare in Nigeria and expansion of Universal Health Coverage to cover all Nigerians, health infrastructural upgrade, fundamental injustices done to doctors in terms of workplace conditions/conditions of service, and other health sector challenges.

Looming Doctors’ Strike May Not Hold – FG

There are indications that the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, may not go ahead with its planned strike, following a meeting between the officials of the association and some top government officials.

Rising from a 9-hour meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, said that the Federal Government had fruitful discussions with officials of the Nigerian Medical Association and that the planned strike was no longer necessary.

“The purpose of the meeting is to avert the other strike which they (NMA) have given notice (of), and we held a successful meeting from yesterday up till this morning.”

The Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, also corroborated the claims: “The resolutions were mutually accepted, and they promised to talk to their members with a view to averting the strike. We hope that will come to past.”

The NMA President, Doctor Osahon Enabulele, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, said that the organisation has indeed reached some understanding with the government.

He added that the government’s positions were subject to its members’ consideration, as the issues discussed at the closed door meeting would be presented before the emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the association.

The NMA had embarked on a 5-day warning strike in December 2013 to protest issues bothering on some health sector challenges, workplace condition of service for doctors and funding infrastructure and equipment upgrade of the nation’s health sector.

Uduaghan On Strike  

Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, who also attended the meeting, said that the Federal Government would not allow the proposed strike by the Nigerian Medical Association to hold.

Speaking to Channels Television’s State House Correspondent shortly after holding the consultative meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential villa, the Governor said that President Jonathan had just constituted a strong negotiating team from the government’s side to meet with the national officers of the NMA, with a view to halting the looming nationwide strike.

He said that President Jonathan had looked at the issues raised by the doctors, adding that they were going to hold another meeting with the doctors’ leadership.

According to him, it is the determination of government to ensure that the strike scheduled for January 6, is averted.

Doctor’s Assault: NMA Orders Doctors To Withhold Services In Borno

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has ordered all doctors with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, to immediately “withdraw their practice until such a time when the security and safety of all health workers and properties in the hospital can be guaranteed by the federal government.”

NMA gave the directive following a reported attack on medical practitioners with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital by officers of the Nigerian Police Force over the inability of the hospital morgue to accommodate the bodies of slain police men brought in from Bama town.

The NMA in a statement by its President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, condemned the attack which it described as “unwarranted brutality and assault of doctors and other health workers” of the teaching hospital.

According to the statement, NMA claimed that mayhem was unleashed on health workers, including the Acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital as well as patients, some of whom sustained various degrees of injuries.

The Borno state branch of NMA and NMA affiliate bodies are however advised to put in place special arrangements to safely attend to in-patients, particularly critically ill patients during this difficult period.