By Ummul Idris
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to providing healthcare service delivery, saying this remains a major priority of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated this at the 50th anniversary of Postgraduate Medical Education in Nigeria on Wednesday, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the anniversary is also the 14th Annual Scientific Conference and All Fellows’ Congress, under the theme “50 Years After: Achievement and Challenges”.
Ehanire said that the 50th anniversary was symbolic, adding that this was coming at a time the Federal Government was planning to investing in the health sector.
He added that healthcare delivery remained the ultimate goal of any country, adding that it had the potential of improving on the employment status of the country, adding “a healthy nation would remain a wealthy nation”.
The minister said that the Buhari-led administration had, in the last few years, shown commitment and interest in primary healthcare and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He said that efforts were also being made to curtail brain drain and reverse the trend, stating that Nigeria had been losing billions of naira to medical tourism which could have been used to develop the country’s healthcare system.
Ehanire also expressed optimism that the outcome of the 50th anniversary would assist the government in the healthcare delivery.
He noted that the college had trained outstanding medical personnel, adding that little wonder its graduates were in high demand, which, according to him, was an indication of good training.
The minister said that the Federal Government would ensure that the country’s healthcare system was better and in accordance with international standard.
Prof Nimi Briggs, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, who delivered the keynote address, called on state governments to stop paying lip service to healthcare delivery.
According to him, it behoves on them to know that healthcare delivery is part of their primary responsibilities.
Briggs, who noted that the training of doctors in Nigeria was expensive, added that losing them to countries with more medical doctors because of the favourable condition was an indictment on the part of the country’s leadership.
He said that some progress had been made in the health sector and that the country’s maternal mortality rate had dropped significantly.
Dr Lilly Tariah, the President of the college, said that 2019 marked the 50th year that the college undertook training of specialists in clinical medicine.
He said at the time of independence, the number of specialist doctors in the country was few, adding that they were all trained abroad because there were only two universities in Nigeria.
According to him, for the country to be truly independent in healthcare, it needs to take charge of not only the production of medical doctors, but also, those that will train the doctors in the medical school.
“We are today celebrating the young specialists who believed they could start the training of Nigerians in Nigeria in 1969,” he said.
Dr Emmanuel Akabe, the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa, in his goodwill message, described the 50 years of existence of the college as exciting, saying that 27 years ago, he was a student of the college.
Akabe said that the journey was tough as a medical doctor at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, as he had to take night buses, adding however that as a politician, the thinking was now different.
While urging medical doctors to join politics, Akabe said “although people say politics is a dirty game, if we keep saying it is dirty, it will continue to be dirty; more and more of us should join politics and make good impacts.” (NAN)