Published On: Sun, Jul 8th, 2018

Emenike advocates for sustainable National medical plan for Nigeria

From  PETER OKORE,  Umuahia

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abia state, Chief Ikechi Emenike has called for the pursuit of  excellence  by medical practitioners, investment in training of more surgeons and sustenance of the supporting infrastructure such as quality medical facilities as very essential for Nigeria to attain a sustainable national surgical standard.

Chief Ikechi Emenike  Photo Credit Daily Post

He said the country should in addition nurture a commercially viable surgical equipment industry, which will include setting- up equipment manufacturing plants, training ofmore equipment maintenance engineers and technicians as a back-up to the plan.

Emenike made the suggestions in Umuahia, the  Abia state capital in paper titled: “Towards a Sustainable National Surgical Plan”   delivered at the 14th  Conference of the Scientific Congress of Association of Surgeons of Nigeria, ASON, and stressed that every country needs a sustainable surgical plan.

He defined a national surgical plan as a healthcare recipe which ensures that every citizen receives the necessary surgical care on a sustainable basis, pointing out that a national surgical plan should clearly spell out how a country can harness and marshal human, material and diplomatic resources to ensure her citizens’ access to safe, affordable and optimum quality of surgical care, when needed, on a sustainable basis.

“Hospitals and surgery would benefit more by engaging professional administrators, as elsewhere, to viably manage their operations. More efficient time management and a deliberate policy of re-investing in facilities is the way to go. Nigerian surgical theatres in particular and hospitals in general have a lot to learn from the 5-star, sparkling clean premises of their counterparts in Europe and America”, he said.

Emenike, represented by Engr. Okezie Abarikwu opined that through diplomatic engagement a robust maintenance and service sector, Nigeria can, as a first step, benefit from the huge array of used medical equipment clogging the second-hand market segment in the United States of America.

According to Emenike, “all these must go hand-in-gloves with a reliable and efficient electricity system as well as boosting the overall productivity of the economy, which will guarantee higher wages and better disposable income in the country”.

He used the forum to call on Nigerians to learn from the success stories of countries such as India and Dubai which have become the preferred surgical care and commercial destinations or tourists centres for many Nigerians.

As he put it, “with one hundred and twelve billion US dollars in GDP, Dubai can afford to sustain a surgical plan which is dependent on import of medical professionals and equipment. India, with one billion people, encourages internally sustainable surgical plan”.

In his address the ASON President, Prof. Paul Dick Ekwere advocated that safe anaesthesia and safe obstetric practice should be included in safe surgery in a rural setting.

He explained that since the decision of the theme for the Congress, “Sustainable National Surgical Plan” with the sub-themes as, “Funding of Surgery at the Primary Level” and “Safe Surgery at the Primary Care Level” was taken at Nnewi, Anambra State, to develop a National Surgical Plan, the need arose to extend its scope to include Anaesthesia and Obstetrics, hence the new name of Nigerian Surgical Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plan, NSOAP.

“The logical reasoning is that safe surgery in a rural setting must necessarily include safe Anaesthesia and Safe Obstetric practice to positively impact the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs”, he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, Local Organizing Committee, LOC, Umuahia, Dr. George Achor said the theme of the conference could not have come at a better time than now when most Nigerians could not access surgical care for different reasons. Anchor expressed optimism that the cross fertilization of ideas which the conference afforded them would help to advance their field.

The Congress attracted a number of stakeholders and dignitaries, including the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, State Commissioners and an APC stakeholder, Dr. Uche Ogah among others.

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