SAKKWATO 2013: Group Issues Jonathan 21-Day Ultimatum



The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) held her August 2013 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting “SAKKWATO 2013” and unveiling of the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (CFR) as the Face of Healthy lIving and Champion of Health Checkups in Nigeria at GIGINYA CORAL HOTEL Sokoto, Sokoto State between Sunday 25th August and Sunday 1st September 2013. The Theme of the NEC meeting was promoting Medical Checkups as key to preventing sudden death.
Sakkwato 2013 activities commenced with the successful conduct of a National Medical mission in the three Senatorial districts of Sokoto State with comprehensive Medical and Surgical/Pathological (laboratory) Services at Tambuwal village; as well as comprehensive medical screening services at the newly built Wamakko Orthopedic Hospital and at Gwadabawa town.
In all, 3700 patients received treatments with over 90 surgical operations performed free of charge.
The opening ceremony of the National Executive Council meeting held on Friday 30th August 2013 and was chaired by Senator Adamu Aliero, former Governor of Kebbi  State who was represented by Prof. Kaoje.
Also in attendance were the Executive Governor of Sokoto State, His Excellency Alhaji (Dr) Aliyu Magatarkada Wamakko (Sarkin Yamman Sokoto) and the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu who was represented. The Royal Father of the day was His Eminence, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III CFR, the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for lslamic affairs.
The high point of the opening ceremony was the unveiling of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (CFR), Speaker of the House of Representatives as the face of Healthy living and Champion of health checkups in Nigeria. The Hon Speaker in receiving the investiture with enthusiasm assured that all resources and opportunities of the office and person shall be deployed to bring the benefit of this campaign to all Nigerians.
There were Continuous Medical Education programmes with presentations on five topics; Medical Practice in the face of insecurity by Professor Toafeek Abraham; Challenges of Emergency Preparedness in Medical and Surgical Practice by Professor S.A. Isezuo; An Overview of Dental Implantology by Dr Abdullrazaq Taiwo; Medico-legal deaths and death Certification by Professor M.D.Buhari and Labour laws, Unionism and Industrial dispute resolution in Nigeria by Dr J.N. Olarewaju of Micheal Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies, IIorin, Kwara State.
The following observations and resolutions were made at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting:
As part of her strategies of reducing the spine-chilling burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs; Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Cancers, Respiratory Diseases, etc.) and the spectre of Sudden death in Nigeria, which is largely traceable to the poor health-seeking behaviour and poor altitude to health check-ups of a large majority of Nigerians, the Nigerian Medical Association focused on the theme ‘’Promoting Medical Check-ups as a key to preventing sudden death’’ during her August 2013 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.
NEC noted with satisfaction the enthusiastic acceptance of the Ambassadorial insignia of the ‘Face of Healthy living and Champion of Health check-ups in Nigeria’ by His Excellency Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, Speaker of the House of Representatives. NEC warmly welcomed his great disposition to use his exalted office to partner with the NMA to carry out necessary health education campaigns to the Nigerian public.
NEC called on all Nigerians, including public and political office holders, to regularly consult their licensed medical doctor/dentist in the various hospitals in Nigeria, for health check.
The Association also restated her earlier call on the Federal Government to declare a public holiday for health check-ups in Nigeria, laced with some incentives.
NEC noted with great dismay the persisting delay in the inauguration of the Governing Board of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), despite several strident appeals made by the NMA to Government.
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria remains greatly handicapped by the fact that there is currently no judge/Council Chairman to preside over investigated cases brought before it. The Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act (MDP Act) provides that only the Chairman of Council shall preside over the Tribunal (which has the status of a high court).
Over the last 10 years the Governing Board of the MDCN has cumulatively not been in place for more than four years. The last Council was dissolved in 2010 with no replacement since then. All calls made to government to inaugurate the Council have so far not yielded any result.
The implication of this is that the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Tribunal is non-existent in the country today; a situation akin to a country without Police CID and justice system. How well Nigerian medical practice is regulated today including the fight against quackery and other unwholesome practices, are better imagined than experienced.
NEC therefore restates her fervent call on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR not to delay any further to direct the inauguration of the Governing Board of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to enable it perform its statutory regulatory functions.
The NMA strongly advises the Federal Government to always insulate the MDCN from the usual dissolution of political Boards of Management. MDCN must be granted a protected tenure to allow for sustained progress in the regulation of medical/dental practice, so as to guarantee the quality of medical care and safety of patients.
NEC resolved to explore all legitimate avenues and means to ensure the inauguration of the MDCN Governing Board as doctors in Nigeria can no longer afford to tolerate the embarrassing situation into which the MDCN has been consigned by Government’s action.
NEC resolved to issue a 21 day ultimatum with effect from Monday, 2nd September 2013, to the Federal Government of Nigeria to tackle the myriad of challenges and anomalies confronting Nigeria’s health system, including the on-going destruction of the fabric of professionalism and hierarchical order in Nigeria’s public hospitals and the health sector. The non-negotiable stance of NEC is the enthronement of professionalism and international best practices.
NEC resolved not to further tolerate the dislocation and unqualified suffering of Doctors and other health workers, who are being owed salaries due to non-payment of wages occasioned by recurrent irregularities in the implementation of the centralized integrated personnel payroll information system (IPPIS).
Since the commencement of the implementation of IPPIS in federal public hospitals it has greatly undermined the welfare of doctors many of whom have had to endure over 3mths of non-payment of salaries due to the irregularities in the implementation of IPPIS.
NEC therefore calls on government to urgently correct the numerous deficiencies within the next 21days or stop the use of IPPIS as a means of payment of the salaries of doctors in public hospitals, pending when the irregularities in the IPPIS are sorted out with a perfect innocuous system put in place.
The NMA is deeply concerned with the anxiety and imbroglio occasioned by the fitness or otherwise of the Governor of Taraba State, His Excellency, Pharm. Danbaba Suntai.
While NMA heartily welcomes back home the Governor of Taraba state, the Association advises the parties involved in the quagmire to sheath their swords and abide with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.
NMA is very prepared to make available her expert members who are professionals in various fields of medicine to constitute a medical board to resolve the lingering question of the medical fitness of the Governor.
The NMA also uses this opportunity to restate her patriotic call on the National Assembly and the Federal Government to establish the Office of the Surgeon-General of Nigeria who would ordinarily have been saddled with the responsibility of independently assessing the medical fitness of public and political office holders, and thus save the nation the great embarrassment caused by the question of the medical fitness or otherwise of our public and political leaders.
NEC noted the salutary effects of outsourcing of services and Public-Private Partnership in the healthcare system of India and most other countries Nigerians travel to seek medical care.
NEC also noted the embrace of the concept by the Federal Government of Nigeria, as well as some public and private healthcare institutions with evident benefits to consumers of healthcare services.
NEC therefore restates its call on the Federal Government to accelerate the Public-Private Partnership arrangement and outsourcing of some services in Nigeria’s public hospitals, as this will help improve performance, service availability and delivery in Nigeria’s hospitals.
While NEC appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government to address insecurity in the country, she however observed that a lot still needs to be done to arrest insecurity, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in Nigeria.
NEC received with great shock the gruesome murder (last night) by unknown gunmen of the Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi State, Dr. Musa Muhammad Dambam.  NEC deeply condoles the family of our departed colleague and calls on the Government and the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
On behalf of the leadership of the NMA, we want to place on record our profound appreciation of His Excellency, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon.Aminu Waziri Tambuwal CFR, for his understanding and physical presence at the ceremony. We are also grateful to His Excellency, Alh. (Dr) Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sarkin Yamman Sokoto), the Executive Governor of Sokoto State for throwing his weight behind the organization of this NEC meeting.
We are extremely grateful to our Royal Father, His Eminence, Alh. (Dr) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III CFR, the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, as well as Senator Adamu Aliero, the former Governor of Kebbi State for their support.
We appreciate the presence of our other invited dignitaries, including the Hon. Minister of Health, Commissioners for Health, Heads of governmental and non-governmental bodies, agencies and parastaltals, our medical and dental elders and other invited guests, despite their very tight schedule. We appreciate our Guest Lecturer and resource persons who found time and space to be with us.
We are grateful to all those who worked round the clock to ensure the success of this NEC meeting and Medical Mission in the three senatorial districts of Sokoto state, particularly the Chairman and members of the Local Organizing Committee, members of the North-West zone of NMA, all National Officers of NMA, the Chairman of the NMA Medical Mission Committee, the Chairman of the NMA Healthy Doctors and Welfare Committee, the Chairman of the NMA Conference Organizing Committee, the Chairman of the NMA Committee on World Health Days, the Chairman of the NMA Committee on Inter-Professional Relationships, NMA State/FCT branches, NEC members, Affiliate Groups of NMA, and all other well-meaning Nigerians.
We must state that the Sokoto State branch of NMA admirably executed the responsibilities conferred on her.
Our immense gratitude also goes to all those who contributed financially and materially towards the successful organization of this conference.
We wish to re-assure all Nigerians that NMA remains firmly resolved to focus on the development of the health sector by defending and promoting professionalism and international best practices. We shall continually defend good governance in all spheres of our professional and national existence.
We shall strengthen our bonds with other progressive stakeholders, Nigerians and citizens of the world to promote the Nigerian dream; the dream of our founding fathers and Statesmen who fought and died for our Independence and democracy.
We are immensely appreciative of the media for their profound support.
We assure Nigerians that we shall continuously strive for an improved and prosperous medical profession, healthcare system, and country.
Dr. Osahon Enabulele                                 Dr Akpufuoma L. Pemu
President                                                       Secretary-General

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