ABUJA, Nigeria – Nigeria loses a sum of N250 billion annually to medical tourism, the Nigeria Medical Association(NMA) has said.
To put an end to such capital flight, the NMA recommended the upgrading of the country’s tertiary institutions and replacing their obsolete equipment with modern ones.
In a communiqué at the end of its national executive council (NEC) meeting in Ilorin, Kwara state ,the association said it was opposed to giving girls out in marriage before the age of 18.
The communiqué was jointly signed by NMA President and Secretary General, Dr Kayode Obembe and Dr Adewunmi Alayaki.
Reading the communiqué, Dr Obembe urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a medical doctor as the minister of health, adding that “doctors who take care of the sick must be accorded priority in the scheme of things.”
Part of the communiqué reads: “NMA has been clamouring for the post of Surgeon General which is paramount in our health system. Examples we can point to are: Attorney General of the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation and Surveyor General and Auditor General.
“The NMA is completely opposed to giving out our girls in marriage before the age of 18 years because before that age, the bony system has not fully developed. Scientifically, this practice should be condemned, the birth canal will be very narrow for the head of the baby to pass through during labour which can lead to the condition called Vesico Virginal Fistula (VVF). We appeal to all men of good will to impress on our Government and policy makers to rescue our female children from this miserable life and ultimate disaster.
“We know that President Mohammadu Buhari has respect for human lives, hence doctors who take care of the sick must be accorded priority in the scheme of things. We hereby implore the President to appoint a Medical Doctor as the Minister of Health. We also implore him to bring out the white paper on Yayale Ahmed Report because this will promote industrial harmony in the health sector.
“NMA is very concerned with the incessant strikes that have bedeviled the health sector which is due to the fact that circulars issued by the government were not cash backed. In the interim, supplementary allocation should be made to pay for such commitments while on a long term basis, it must be clearly defined as a budget heading in 2016 appropriation.
“NMA is worried at the rate at which the so called regulatory bodies, apart from Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), invade our hospitals. We hereby appeal to the Police to cooperate with NMA in ensuring that no regulatory body apart from MDCN is allowed to come and interrupt Doctors while they are on their legitimate vocation of saving lives as this constitutes distraction and interruption in the hospital environment.
“NMA is in full support of the Universal health coverage, this has been the focus of the national officers’ committee (NOC) of the Association and we believe the instrument of the full implementation is through National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). We are delighted that the National Health Act made provision for getting one percent consolidated revenue fund through the NHIS while the other 50 percent goes to the primary health care.
“NMA is poised to eradicate measles from our country. We have kicked out polio and Ebola. Everybody should join hands with NMA to achieve this. Therefore, our Physicians Week in October shall focus on measles.”