Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the federal government to ensure the implementation of the National Health Act in 2016, saying it will be of utmost benefit to all Nigerians if implemented.
Governor Okowa, who spoke Tuesday in Asaba when he played host to members of the Delta State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Senator Okowa says among the numerous benefits of implementing the Act would be huge reduction in capital flight as a result of Nigerians getting medical attention locally instead of seeking medical care abroad.
According to him, “the National Health Act has been signed into law and it is my prayer that in 2016, it will be put into operation in the country, we are going to see if there are some aspects of the law that can be domesticated because it is a National Act and it is supposed to be applicable to all states.”
“It is clearly stated in the clause that deals extensively with primary healthcare that funding is a partnership between the Federal, State and Local Government and I believe that it is going to impact greatly on the development of primary health care when the act is eventually implemented nationally,”
“So, it is our hope that Mr President will ensure the implementation of this law nationally because it will bring a lot of regulation in the healthcare industry which we believe Nigeria is going to benefit from,” he said,
Governor okowa stressed that, “it is appalling that we find ourselves in a situation where we go out of the country for treatment for minor ailments that can be treated in Nigeria, especially when public funds are used, so, this law is going to be very useful in saving a lot of cash flow out of the country.”
The Governor also assured members of NMA of his administration’s commitment to the training and retraining of the state workforce, stating, “if we cannot train and retrain our staff, we cannot get the best, we will look at our training programme and see how we can develop our staff and maximize training in-house and within the shores of our country.”
He decried the dwindling respect accorded Medical Doctors across the country, noting that it was time for Doctors to retrace their steps and know where they got it wrong and get their deserved place in the society.
To Governor Okowa, “as members of NMA, we need to look into ways of ensuring that our members conduct themselves as men of integrity and respect, our attitude should tell who we are because when we get ourselves involved in untoward things like others, it affects the image of our profession as Doctors within the society, we need to look inward and find out where we got it wrong as a people in a profession so that we can gradually rebuild that image that made the Doctor tower above all other professionals in the society.”
He also used the occasion to assure Deltans of continuing with the free maternal and under five health care, saying, “the free maternal and under five health care programmes which were started in the last administration are dear to us, we look forward to continue the programmes even when we are under difficult financial burden.”
On the issue of housemanship for Medical Doctors, Governor Okowa disclosed that a Commissioner for Health will emerge next week and he will ensure that the right approach is taken; assuring that his administration would complete the construction of the Central Hospital, Asaba.
Earlier, the Chairman of NMA in the state, Dr Toju Eresanara had commended Governor Okowa for creating the enabling environment for the NMA and Government to discuss issues that will move the medical industry forward