Resident doctors at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria and National Eye Centre Kaduna are calling for the quick implementation of the National Health Act by the Federal Government, and rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructure in government’s tertiary hospitals.
Addressing a joint press conference, President of the Association of Resident Doctors, ABUTH chapter, Dr. Sokomba Aliyu, said the call has become necessary as it will not only regulate the National Health system, but also eliminate quackery and provide basic health funds.
Other demands made by the association include the implementation of a uniform template for residency training in the country, full implementation of corrected CONMESS for state doctors and immediate enrollment of all residents on the IPPISIS platform.
They said that delay in implementing the Act, signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in December 2014, is putting the health of the people at risk.
“The Association of Resident Doctors have come to a cross road and where it has to make certain changes to guarantee its future, to maintain the integrity of the profession. Top among our plight is the decision by the FMOH to fragment, disintegrate and eventually destroy the Residency Training Programme.
“Following the agitation by NARD for the release of a uniform template for Residency training in Nigeria, the Ministry decided to distort the programme by planning to split it and enforcing compulsory exit half way into the programme against the recommendation of a committee, set up topresent a uniform template on that. This is completely unacceptable to NARD.
The second is the non-implementation of National Health Act 2014. The NHA was passed into law in 2014, two years later, it is yet to be implemented, the Act is supposed to regulate the National Health System, eliminate quacks and provide basic health fund. This is yet to see the light of the day two years , since its enactment.
“Infrastructure is generally dilapidated or not even available at various centres across the states. Tertiary hospitals have not employed doctors for some years now.
“In conclusion, what NARD is saying is that the Federal Government should mandate the FMOH to release a unified template for residency training in Nigeria, implement the NHA, 2014, and immediate enrollment of all residents on the IPPISIS platform”.
“The NHA Act guarantees that at least 1% of consolidated federal revenue be committed to a Basic Health Care Provision Fund, in same manner as 2% of total budget goes to the Education Trust Fund”.
Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar of the National Eye Centre Kaduna, laments that despite the exit and retirement of doctors over the years, no replacement was made to fill the vacuum, a situation which he says affects the profession negatively.
The resident doctors warned that further punitive measures would be considered if nothing was done immediately by the Federal Ministry of Health to address the issues raised.