stop The Fight For Supremacy: Ozumba Tells Nurses, Others
An obstetrics and gynaecologist and vice-chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, has urged medical practitioners in the country to stop fighting for supremacy, saying the persistent supremacy crisis among nurses, doctors and technologist is one of the reasons for brain drain in the health sector in the country.
He gave the advice in Lagos on the sideline of the fifth international scientific conference organised recently by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research Institute (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, saying the perceived rivalry has got to a stage it could be described as national drama.
According to him, there shouldn’t be rivalry because each of these professionals has specific roles, defined by the public and not necessarily by the government.
Speaking on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the don said the scheme as currently being exclusively operated the Federal Government wouldn’t achieve much unless it is taken to the grass roots.
According to him, a big and diversified country like Nigeria does not need one heath insurance scheme but multiple in form of community-based health insurance policy that will be initiated by end users who are people at the local and state government levels as the practice in the United States of America.
He also said major health challenges such as cancer need not be covered by the scheme because they are not as common as malaria, typhoid, running stomach and various communicable diseases that easily send many Nigerians to their untimely graves.
He said:“These are the diseases plus maternal health issues that should be properly articulated in the health insurance scheme at the grass roots level so as to stop losing particularly children and mothers to preventable diseases while government can provide for life-saving equipment for cancer treatment. Or is it not embarrassing to know that countries like Ethiopia and Rwanda with lesser economic potentialities have a better maternal and child healthcare system than Nigeria.”
Prof Ozumba who was the chairman of the occasion, noted that a lot still needs to be done to break on research in Africa and advocated promotion of local vaccines especially for viral infections as the practice in the early 70s according to him, saying it was doable if we get our priority right as a country.
On his part, the keynote speaker at the event and vice president for Research, South African Medical Research Council, Prof Jeffery Mphahlele, said African countries with no exemption would need to buckle up, especially in medical research to be able to achieve sustainable universal health coverage for their citizens.
Speaking on the theme, “Achieving universal health coverage: The role of research,” he said the continent was not investing enough in research and as such the wide gap between Africa and the developed world.
Providing a way forward, Prof Mphahlele urged each country to invest more on people-oriented research activities, personnel training, provision of life-saving medical equipment and facilities, strengthening of institutional capacity, production of young generation of health researchers and scientists and also to collaborate with others on areas of public importance.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the Director-General of NIMR, Professor Babatunde Salako said the essence of the conference was to proffer workable solution concerning medical emergency preparedness in case of natural disasters and act of terrorism, as well how to curb the rising cases of substance abuse among youths in the country.
He, however, lamented the low number of Nigerians accessing comprehensive healthcare through the pre-paid health insurance structure, saying the five per cent was part of the reasons for the poor life expectancy experiencing in the country.