As Nigeria battles, an increase in COVID -19 pandemic, the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has appealed to Nigerians to take the COVID-19 prevention advisories very seriously in order to interrupt the transmission, reduce ill-health and deaths from the dreaded disease.
The NMA also observed the commencement of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic amidst the flagrant disregard for the non-pharmaceutical prevention protocols and waning efforts at containment of the scourge.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the National Executive Council, NEC, the meeting of NMA in Awka, Anambra state and jointly signed by the NMA President, Prof Innocent Ujah and Secretary-General, Dr. Philp Ekpe, the doctors maintained that the strict adherence to the NCDC Protocol of use of face mask, regular handwashing and use of sanitizers and as well as Physical distancing was very important.
They also warned that non-essential travels should not be embarked upon especially during this period of yuletide and beyond.
They also regretted the current concerns for vaccine access internationally whereas such serious conversations have yet to be intensified in Nigeria.
“Serious efforts to prioritize health including supplementary appropriation/ budgetary provision should be initiated by the government at all levels and the private sector coalitions to ensure the procurement and availability of consumables for effective response in the containment of COVID-19, especially with the upsurge of the infection.
“We also wish to advise the Government to procure the vaccines that have been reported to be effective for a further research study on Nigerians to confirm their efficacy and safety for the Nigerian populace.
The NMA also demanded that more deliberate and strategic efforts must be made by governments to ensure the return home of the Nigerian doctors and other health professionals in the diaspora to contribute their quota to the improvement of health care delivery services as well as national growth and development.
Stating that privileged Nigerians should demonstrate open confidence in the nation’s health care delivery system and as well as of patriotism by patronising the services, they called for the establishment of the National Health Bank in order to fast-track the infrastructure, procurement of the state-of-the- equipment which helps to provide world-class health care for Nigerians in order to reverse Medical tourism.
They also called on President Mohammadu Buhari, political leaders, and strategic stakeholders in the nation’s financial sector and the entire citizens to prevail upon the Central Bank of Nigeria to soften and modify the conditionalities for accessing the Health Intervention Loan especially given the current state of the nation’s health sector as exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NMA pledged to strategically engage appropriate quarters in order to achieve the implementation of the extension of the retirement age of medical and dental practitioners in Nigeria to 65 years, special pension benefits as contained in Circular I of 1991; restoration of the Medical Salary System Scale (MSSS); Implementation of the CONMESS for Medically qualified Lecturers and its universal applicability for doctors in the employment of States and Local Government Councils.
The doctors further called on the Federal Government to commence negotiations with NMA on the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and also urged them and the security agencies to assess and evaluate the current strategies on the security situation and commit to more effective reforms in order to secure Nigerians wherever they are in the country.
Vanguard News Nigeria