By Asma’u Ahmad
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Tuesday called for effective collaboration with stakeholders to ensure qualitative, affordable and accessible healthcare delivery in the country.
President of the association, Prof. Mike Ogirima, made the demand at the presentation of NMA’s “Strategic plan: 2017 to 2022’’ to stakeholders in Abuja, with the theme “From words to action: Walking the talk with partners.”
“A partnership we believe that can translate to quality, accessible, affordable, available and acceptable services that delivers expected results. By so doing we should be halving the mortality and morbidity indices within the lifespan of this Strategic Plan. ‘Yes we can’ do it. Let us dare to win,” Prof. Ogirima said.
He noted that the association was concerned about improving the healthcare delivery at the Primary Health Care (PHC) level and in the rural areas. He emphasised that 70 per cent of the disease burden in Nigeria is domiciled at the PHC level and rural areas where most of our population resides.
The NMA president noted with concern that in spite of the fact that rural dwellers harbour more disease burden, they are the least empowered to tackle this unfortunate endowment. “It is in this light that, NMA is seeking through the implementation of her Strategic Plan 2017-2022 to contribute to the reduction of this burden by an appreciable percentage,” he said.
Professor Ogirima who further flayed the poor state of the nation’s health system, however, said that implementation of the strategic plan would further afford every citizen access to desired healthcare services and enable the nation to take ownership of the health system.
“This dream is ambitious but doable and achievable. NMA in utilising her inherent strengths and in partnerships with all stakeholders will walk the talk to reach even the hardest-to-reach areas with key interventions of public health education, personal and environmental hygiene and medically supervised antenatal care services, among
“If one case of wild polio virus in Nigeria mars all the efforts at eradication of polio in the country, then NMA would have no option than giving its all to help our country,’’ he said.
Prof. Ogirima noted that non-implementation of the National Health Act especially the Basic Healthcare provision fund, certificate of standards and funding for medical emergencies, among others, were militating against the realisation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC). According to him, after three years of the declaration the country is yet to implement its provisions.
The NMA president, who described the theme of the forum as apt, however, emphasised that the association was ready for business unusual and innovations. He said that members of the association were also ready to learn to polish their skills to assure efficiency, effectiveness, openness, accountability and value for money.
While noting that the plan has six thematic areas, the NMA boss identified the areas of the strategy as strengthening of NMA, strengthening publicity and communication for clinical governance, medication, education and research.
Others are improving overall healthcare delivery, members’ welfare, intra/inter professional relationship, operationalisation for NMA.
The NMA president described NMA as having the potential of resolving contradictions and confusions in healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
According to him, the answer to the reoccurring and embarrassing question on what the organisation has been doing with these strengths, opportunities and endowments prompted the strategic plan with stakeholders to provide answers.
“NMA want to do more with stakeholders as partners in areas of strengths to scale up proven interventions nationwide and at all levels at health facilities to support trainings, data management, coaching and mentoring, monitoring and evaluation, support and supervision.
“NMA will stand up for interventions that guarantee integrity, country ownership and sustainability. NMA is in the fore front of advocacy to the relevant high level offices in the country, mass mobilisation, citizen enlightenment activities, and legislative support to get the appropriate arms of government to do the needful,” he said.