The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, says prioritising healthcare financing by all tiers of governments is critical to reversing brain-drain in the health sector.
The association said this in a communique on Monday after its 63rd Annual General Conference and Delegates’ Meeting, AGC/DM, held in Jalingo, Taraba.
The communique was signed by the association’s president, Dr Uche Ojinmah and the Secretary General, Dr Jide Onyekwelu.
According to the communique, government at all levels should as a matter of urgency prioritise healthcare, show better political commitment to healthcare financing and pay better and competitive salaries.
It called for the provision of better working environment, rejigging of the security architecture to protect lives and property, provide access to social amenities and increased opportunities for doctors in Nigeria.
The communique also called on governments at all levels to urgently do the needful in addressing the various cases of violence against healthcare workers in Nigeria by declaring the act as a national emergency requiring robust action.
“The AGC/DM specifically called on the National and State Houses of Assembly to pass protective laws to stop the violence and safeguard the rights of healthcare workers.
“We also directed the management of health institutions to develop appropriate protocols in identifying and handling of potential cases of violence, develop effective communication strategy and promptly report cases of violence to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.
“The AGC/DM directed the National Officers’ Committee (NOC) to follow up the case of the gruesome murder of Dr Uyi Iluobe to a logical conclusion,” it said.
The communique rejected the House of Representatives’ bill sponsored by Hon. Ganiyu Johnson proposing to make it mandatory for fresh medical graduates to provide services to Nigeria for five years before getting full registration and license to practice or emigrate.
It said the association would deploy all legitimate means at its disposal to resist any form of enslavement of the Nigerian Medical/Dental practitioners.
“Instead, the National Assembly should put pressure on government to address the ‘Push’ factors propelling brain drain which has led to the mass exodus of doctors and other health workers for greener pastures.
“The AGC/DM also called on the Federal Ministry of Health to jettison the idea of forced bonding of doctors via a policy directive as it is against natural justice, equity and good conscience, and shall be stoutly resisted by the NMA.
“It enjoined all Nigerian doctors and dentists to be conversant with the provisions of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap M8, 2004 laws of Federation of Nigeria and abide by all the ethics guiding the profession.