In order to increase their financial bases and increase domestic production of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, the Federal Government has given loans totaling N100 billion to domestic pharmaceutical producers and healthcare investors.
According to a statement from the president’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, President Muhammadu Buhari made this announcement on Tuesday in Abuja when hosting the NMA’s new executive members.
The loan was granted, according to the President, thanks to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s assistance for the private pharmaceutical industry.
He further stated that models for reviving the country’s healthcare system in ways that enhance both the quality of care and the compensation package for healthcare providers are currently being investigated by the Health Sector Reform Committee, which is led by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
In response to the brain drain in the health industry, the President declared that he has instructed the Honourable Minister of Health to investigate ways to convert “brain drain” into “brain gain” by enlisting top Nigerian medical professionals in the diaspora in knowledge and skills repatriation.
He asked the Association and other health sector players to support federal government initiatives and engage with the committees established to fast-track the development of a health system that best meets the requirements of Nigerians in the twenty-first century.
The Association, the representative organisation for all medical professionals in Nigeria, was also praised by the President for continuously choosing peaceful dispute settlement when it came to issues involving the country’s healthcare system.
‘‘I commend our medical professionals for their contribution to Nigeria’s exemplary management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the control of malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis, and other feats also achieved by Nigerian doctors in the diaspora.
‘‘Our response to COVID-19 pandemic has been praised internationally and your members are key parts of this success.
‘‘I recall that in the last quarter of 2021, the immediate past NMA Executives visited me and presented recommendations for the health sector, which included, the review and amendment of NHIS Act; upgrading and equipping existing health institutions; loans to fund hospital equipment; the repeal and re-enactment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act; and Appeal for more funding for the four (4) newly established Universities of Medical Sciences.
‘‘I am pleased to inform you that most of these recommendations have been addressed, whilst further action is being taken to study those involving cross-cutting administrative processes with legal implications.’’
The President also took the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Osahon Enabulele, a former president of the organization and the first Nigerian to hold the office of President-elect of the World Medical Association.
The President wished Enabulele well in his role and hoped he would use it to support better health care delivery in Nigeria and other low-income nations.
He also expressed his best wishes for a fruitful term in office to the new NMA Executive Members and exhorted them to sincerely continue acting as judges of peace and advancement.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the minister of health, who led the medical professionals to the audience, reaffirmed that the doctors have been good partners with his ministry, aiding in the regulation of the health profession and emphasizing the provision of high-quality services.
In his remarks, the President of the NMA, Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah, said the new National Officers Committee (NOC) was elected on the 21st of May, 2022. He commended President Buhari for his steadfast war against corruption; assent to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act which will “improve the health indices of our nation;” the constitution of the Health Reform Committee under Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; and the various infrastructural projects embarked upon by the Buhari administration.
Dr Ojinmah enjoined the President to ensure full and appropriate implementation of the NHIA Act; provision of “adequate work equipment, conducive work environment and necessary budget support;” as well as elongation of the retirement age for medical consultants to 70 years and 65 years for non-consultant doctors and other healthcare workers.
Others include creating a Health Bank and implementing the Hazard Allowance circular that was circulated in December 2021 with arrears.
Additionally, he asked that the Federal Government be represented at Dr. Enabulele’s inauguration in Berlin, Germany, later in the year.