The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) held her 2013 December National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting (‘’Minna 2013’’), Emergency Delegates Meeting (EDM), as well as the 1st Senator Dr Dalyop Gyang Dantong Memorial Lecture between Sunday December 8th and Sunday 15th December 2013 at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna, Niger State.
The theme of the inaugural Senator Dr. Dalyop Gyang Dantong Memorial Lecture was “Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria—Developing a Strategic Plan of Action’’, while the subtheme was ‘’The Past, Present and Future of Primary Healthcare in Nigeria’’.
The activities of ‘’Minna 2013’’ commenced with successful free medical missions to three rural communities in Kuta, Kataeregi and Zungeru. The three outings were well attended with over 2500 patients receiving treatment for various Medical, Dental, Eye, Gynaecological and Surgical conditions with 92 surgical operations carried out free of charge.
The opening ceremony of the National Executive Council Meeting and the inaugural Senator Dr Dalyop Gyang Dantong Memorial Lecture held on Friday 13th December and was chaired by the Senate President ably represented by Dr Stephen Kitchener, OON.
The lecture titled ‘’Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria—Developing a Strategic Plan of Action’’ delivered by Dr. Akin Akinlawon from Texas, U.S.A. was followed by a subtheme lecture titled ‘’The past, present and the future of primary healthcare in Nigeria’’ delivered by Dr Ado J.G. Muhammed, Executive Director/CEO of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, Abuja.
Amongst dignitaries in attendance at the opening ceremony were the Executive Governor of Niger State, His Excellency, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, CON (represented by the Hon. Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services, Niger State, Dr I.B. Sule,mni), the Senate President, Senator David A.B. Mark GCON (represented by Dr Stephen Kitchener OON), the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu (represented by Dr Wapada Balami), Heads of Governmental and Non-governmental bodies and Past Presidents of NMA.
The Continuous Medical Education programme of ‘’Minna 2013’’, held on Thursday 12th December 2013 and featured 5 presentations: ‘’Update on Oral cancer in Nigeria by Dr V.I. Akinmoladun, ‘’Universal Coverage under NHIS’’ by Dr Kayode Obembe, ‘’Management of Acute Coronary Syndrome’’ by Dr Adamu Dati, ‘’The burden of CKD in Nigeria’’ by Dr Clement Oladele A.O.
There was also a well attended Emergency Delegates Meeting (EDM) held on Saturday, December 14, 2013.
Following exhaustive deliberations at the National Executive Council meeting and the Emergency Delegates Meeting, the following resolutions were made:
1) UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE
In recognition of the fact that achieving Universal Health Coverage was fundamental to ensuring adequate health care for Nigerians, the NMA bemoaned the abysmal low percentage health coverage of Nigerians put at about 6% and called on government to urgently invest more in the health of Nigerians through a Universal Health Fund.
The NMA also restated the urgent need for a Government sponsored Hospital Development and Intervention Fund (HDIF) in the health industry to drive the development of modern and world class health infrastructure in Nigeria, and help stem the burgeoning phenomenon of medical tourism with the attendant capital flight.
2) STEM CELL TRANSPLANTATION
The NMA acknowledged the success of her National Committee on Stem Cell Transplant and Genetic Engineering in organizing a hugely successful International Scientific Workshop at UBTH, Benin in collaboration with the Benin Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Society (BBTS).
The Association congratulates Dr Godwin Nosa Bazuaye and his team in the achievement of a second successful stem cell transplant in a 15year old Nigerian with Sickle cell disorder, with his conversion from HBSS genotype to HBAA genotype.
3) COMMENCEMENT OF WITHDRAWAL OF SERVICES
For over five months now, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has recurrently engaged the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on issues bordering on some health sector challenges, workplace conditions and the conditions of service of doctors.
On the 2nd September, 2013 the Nigerian Medical Association issued a 21day ultimatum to the Federal Government of Nigeria to address the issues tabled by NMA. However, based on the understanding reached following the intervention of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu CON, the NMA decided to extend her ultimatum by four weeks at her emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on September 22, 2013.
Following the expiration of the additional four (4) weeks grace granted to the Federal Government, the NMA again magnanimously extended twice the ultimatum on account of the Government’s constitution of a Presidential Committee and promise to speedily resolve the issues contained in the requests of the NMA. Sadly, since the report of the Presidential Committee was submitted to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, only the re-constitution and inauguration of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has been realised. The inauguration of MDCN which took place on 25th November, 2013 was even after the Government reneged on an earlier signed agreement with NMA to reconstitute and inaugurate MDCN within 21days (that is, by 30th September, 2013).
The attention of the government to other issues bordering on workplace conditions and injustice meted out to doctors in their conditions of service and funding/ infrastructural and equipment upgrade of the health sector have not received any significant attention.
The Association noted her patriotic efforts to further engage the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health (following the invitation of the Honourable Minister of Health to a meeting) even at the eleventh hour but which collapsed following the unserious attitude of the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health who seem less bordered about the potential crisis that was bound to erupt from Saturday, December 14, 2013.
In recognition of the extremely poor progress in the resolution of the demands of the NMA, and following the expiration of her last ultimatum issued to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which expired on Saturday, December 14, 2013, the NMA is constrained to declare an industrial action with effect from Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Accordingly, doctors in public health institutions shall withdraw their services with effect from 8am on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.
In recognition of the yuletide season and the appeals of well-meaning Nigerians and our friends in the fourth estate of the realm, the withdrawal of services in this first instance shall be for a period of five days but shall recommence after the yuletide season.
We call on members of the public and the media to bear with the association during this period of withdrawal of services.
4) MAIDEN NMA NATIONAL MEDICAL DOCTORS’GAMES
The first Edition of the NMA National Medical Doctors’Games is billed to hold in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, from Feb 16th to 22nd 2014.
We invite all Nigerians to participate in this epoch-making Games which is in furtherance of the healthy living campaign of the Nigerian Medical Association.
We also urge Nigerians to partake in regular exercises and sports in order to attain its health benefits.
We wish to express our profound appreciation of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, CON (Talba Minna) for his understanding and support. We are also grateful to the Senate President, Senator David A.B. Mark, GCON; the Minister of Health and the lovely Dantong family for their presence at the ceremony.
We appreciate the presence of other invited dignitaries, including the Niger State Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Ibrahim Sule,mni, Heads of governmental and non-governmental bodies, agencies and parastaltals, our medical and dental elders and other invited guests.
We appreciate our Guest Lecturers and resource persons who found time to be with us.
We are grateful to the Chairman and members of Niger State branch of NMA and the Local Organizing Committee for their profound commitment to the success of all the activities lined up for this NEC meeting, particularly the successful conduct of the free NMA Medical Mission.
The free four (4) monthly NMA National Medical Mission is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and our way of extending our professional services to the Nigerian people.
We thank all National Officers of NMA, the Chairman of the NMA Medical Mission Committee, Dr Patrick Okundia, the Chairman of the NMA Healthy Doctors and Welfare Committee, Dr. Nurudeen Akindele, the Chairman of the NMA Conference Organizing Committee, Dr. Kingsley Enweremadu, NMA State/FCT branches, NEC members, Delegates, and Affiliate bodies of NMA.
We thank well-meaning Nigerians for their understanding and prayers.
We are immensely appreciative of the media for their profound support and partnership.
We wish all Nigerians a splendid yuletide season and a fulfilling year 2014.
Dr. Osahon Enabulele Dr. Akpufuoma L. Pemu