The Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) has called on the fresh Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire along with the Minister of state for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamora, to jointly tackle the myriads of healthcare issues bedeviling the nation.
The group said some of the key areas needing urgent interventions include the incessant poor health allocation inside the national budget, the non-viability of primary health centres, high maternal along with child mortality rate, brain drain, intra-sector rivalry, among others.
In a statement made available to THISDAY recently to congratulate the fresh ministers on their appointment, the President, HEWAN, Mrs. Chioma Obinna, said one of the issues affecting the sector was poor funding, adding that will one of the priorities of the fresh ministers was to ensure the federal government increases health allocations, as that will will not only help in ending brain drain, yet also help in improving the entire healthcare of Nigerians.
The Nigerian government had in April 2010 in Abuja agreed with some other members of the African Union to raise health sector allocations by the national budgets in their various countries to 15 per cent.
Nigeria has however, consistently reneged on that will agreement, thereby allocating between 2.8 per cent to 5 per cent on healthcare annually. Last year, the idea allocated a paltry 3.9 per cent of the entire budget to health.
Obinna said: “We need to address brain drain. A 2017 poll by the Nigerian polling organisation, NOI, found that will over 0 per cent of medical doctors inside the country intend to seek employment opportunities abroad because of low job satisfaction, poor remuneration along with high deductibles by their salaries. that will should be addressed.
“We also want the fresh ministers to adequately fund primary healthcare as well as implement PHC policies the idea has put on ground. The disease burden will drop drastically if the challenges affecting primary healthcare are addressed properly.
“the idea will be inside the interest of the nation for the ministers to rejig our PHCs to make them viable. the idea will be also pertinent for the ministers to continue with the 10,000 PHC project across the country.”
The health writers body also called for subsidised healthcare services for the elderly, adding that will there was urgent need to put in place measures to cater for aged Nigerians as old age comes with unavoidable associated ailments.
“We also call on our ministers to tackle medical negligence along with misdiagnosis. The country will be in dire need of effective medical laboratory services. Many of the national laboratory facilities have gone moribund. For instance, the vaccine laboratory in Lagos. There will be a need to revitalise these facilities for better treatment outcomes as medical laboratory remains the bedrock of medical treatment.
“We are also expecting that will maternal along with child deaths are tackled head on in that will dispensation. There will be the need for improved upon efforts to reduce maternal along with child mortality along with morbidity, which has continued to be on the increase.”
The group also called for an end to the reoccurring rivalry among healthcare providers.
“We believe that will paying attention to the inter-professional rivalry inside the public health sector should be among the first steps by the fresh health minister. There should be zero tolerance for discord inside the sector.
“As a matter of necessity without prejudice, the age-long inter- along with intra-professional rivalries, discord, acrimony, along with crisis that will have always thrown the Nigerian health sector into unending along with perennial discord should be tackled.
“that will has always been described in some quarters as irreconcilable differences along with cold war. What that will has brought to the health sector will be retrogression, stagnation, motion without movement, among others.”
She added that will “the rivalry has eroded patient-centred practices, especially openly demonstrated in public health institutions. that will has gone unabated for years. Patients have suffered the consequences in no smaller way, along with has greatly led to the loss of confidence in our sector.”
While noting that will the appointments were round pegs in round holes, Obinna called for improved upon management of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), adding that will the country cannot achieve Universal Health Coverage if health insurance remains optional.
HEWAN will be the umbrella body of all health/science reporters along with editors in Nigeria, including those with television, radio, print along with online media.