By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has called for increased budgetary allocations to the healthcare sector to improve the quality of healthcare delivery in the country.
The President of NARD, Dr Innocent Orji, said this at the end of the 3-day National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association in Uyo, Akwa Ibom on Saturday.
The meeting was tagged Uyo 2023 with the theme; “Improved Welfare of Healthcare Workers: A Panacea for Brain Drain (Political and Doctors’ Perspectives).”
Orji, who said that the increase should be to the tune of 15 per cent annual budgetary allocation, added that it would be in line with the 2001 Abuja declaration for healthcare financing in Africa and global best practices.
He said NEC of NARD also urged the Federal Ministry of Health to expedite action on checking brain drain by implementing the “one for one” policy on replacement of exited doctors and clinical staff.
“NEC welcomes the committee set up by the Federal Government to mitigate the brain drain in the health sector.
“The association urges a speedy conclusion of the task and immediate implementation of their recommendations to improve healthcare service delivery and reduce emigration of skilled healthcare workers from the country.
“NEC calls for increased funding of the healthcare sector in the country, to the tune of 15 per cent annual budgetary allocation in line with the 2001 Abuja declaration for healthcare financing in Africa and global best practices.
“(We also call for) the digitalisation of the healthcare services to improve the quality of healthcare delivery to Nigerian citizens,” Orji said.
He said that NEC in its resolution urged the Chief Medical Directors of tertiary hospitals in the country to take responsibility for security in their various hospitals as NARD would no longer continue to watch her members being assaulted by staff, patient’s relatives or securty operatives.
He said the association called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to investigate and arrest the perpetrators of illegal shooting of one of its members in Delta and to ensure that they are adequately punished to serve as deterrent to others.
“We demand that the affected doctor be adequately compensated for the trauma and the damaged vehicle replaced. NEC gives IGP two weeks to get this done as we would review the situation at the expiration of the two weeks, the situation and our stand would be taken thereafter if the response is not satisfactory,” he said.
Dr Orji said that NEC called on the National Assembly to make laws protecting the lives and wellbeing of doctors and healthcare workers as the rate of assault against its members within and outside the hospitals were alarming.
He called on the Federal Government, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and all stakeholders to prevail on the governors of Abia, Ondo and Ekiti states to urgently pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed its members.