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NMA deplores low budget, others for health sector

Published by Guardian on Tue, 07 May 2013

Nigeria records two new polio casesDOCTORS under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have identified low budgetary allocation for health, shortage of human resource, lack of provision for health in the country's constitution and non-existence of functional primary health care services as the major low points in President Goodluck Jonathan's administration even as they recommended electronic health (e-health) to improve service delivery.Meanwhile, Nigeria has continued to transmit the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) following the report of two new type one cases (WPV1) last week from Borno, bringing the total number of polio cases for 2013 to 16.Also, the Association of Muslim Health workers, a global organisation, has directed its affiliate in Nigeria, Islamic Medical Association of health workers of Nigeria (IMAN) to collaborate with the relevant agencies to ensure eradication of polio in Nigeria by next year.The NMA said the concept of e-health is safe, secure, ethical and cost-effective transmission, exchange, sharing and dissemination of health data and information, through the utilisation of applications such as mobile health (m-health), telemedicine and electronic health records.The NMA's President , Dr. Osahon Enabulele, on Sunday at a press briefing in Lagos, which preceded her 53rd Annual General Conference and delegates meeting tagged 'Eko2013', said that of the 65,000 medical doctors registered by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) only 25,000 (38.46 per cent) are currently practising in the country, which means that 40,000 (61.54 per cent) have gone abroad for greener pastures.The NMA President was emphatic that following low budget for health and shortage of human health resource, the country cannot achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.Enabulele said: 'We are still grappling with the shortage of human health resource. Of the 65,000 registered doctors, 25,000 are practising in Nigeria. A lot of these doctors take the next available flight to other countries to practise their profession. That has impacted to the ineffective healthcare delivery we have in this country. Most rural communities do not have doctors, even in cities there are not enough doctors. The doctor patient ratio is appalling.'There is poor primary and secondary health care delivery in this country. A trip round our country shows that primary care in Nigeria is virtually non-existent. If that sector that takes responsibility of over 70 per cent of the country population is not functioning that means people have resulted to quacks and have besieged the tertiary health care facilities for cases that should have been handled at primary and secondary levels'.'It will amaze you that there is no provision for health in the 1999 Constitution. Even the recommendation we made to the revised 1999 Constitution for health to be made a fundamental human right was rejected by the National Assembly,' he addedAccording to the latest edition of the Weekly Polio Update published on Sunday by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), 'the most recent WPV case had onset of paralysis on March 28 (WPV1 from Borno).'No new cases of cVDPV2 were reported in the past week. The most recent cVDPV2 case had onset of paralysis on November 24, 2012 (from Kebbi)'.
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