The 2021 Physician’s Week of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the country has been declared open in Uyo by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, with a call for improved healthcare delivery systems across Nigeria.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, Governor Udom Emmanuel celebrated the contributions of medical practitioners in the fight against COVID -19 and called for support from all stakeholders towards improving the state of affairs in Nigeria’s health sector.
Nigeria’s former President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR and the Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc, Dr. A. B. C. Orjiako, FWACS delivered keynote addresses on the theme of the week, “Nigerian in the COVID Era and Beyond: Health Systems Strengthening for National Security and Prosperity”.
The President of the NMA, Prof. Innocent Achanya Otobo Ujah,Mni, FNMA added his voice to calls for improvement in the healthcare delivery system, by asking for the augmentation of physician’s monthly hazard allowance from a paltry N5,000 and for the establishment of a Bank of Health in Nigeria. He argued that, if there is a Bank of Agriculture to incentivize agro-businesses in the country and a Bank of Industry to provide stimulus to industrial growth, there was no reason why Nigeria should not have a functional bank that supports the growth and development of the health sector.
Speaking at the event, the former Vice Chairman of ExxonMobil Companies in Nigeria and Advisor, Inoyo Toro Foundation, Mr. Udom Inoyo thanked Nigeria’s medical practitioners for volunteering to help humanity as first respondents in the fight against COVID 19 and sued for a multi-stakeholder approach towards beginning the much-desired journey aimed at redeeming healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.
“Truth be told, there has been a systemic failure across the board, and for so long. We recognize that you have complained severally, gone on strike, adjusted where necessary, and like some colleagues, may have thought of or are still thinking about abandoning the ship. But this is not the time to apportion blames but rather, an opportunity for all stakeholders to row in the same direction. We must reset the clock and begin a journey of redemption for the general good.”
Mr. Inoyo, a former National President and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management in Nigeria, particularly spoke on how improvements in Human Resource Management (HRM) could inspire improvements in Nigeria’s health system.
“To achieve good human resource management and health system strengthening in Nigeria, you as health managers must focus on delivering health benefits to everyone, especially the vulnerable. And to effectively do so, you must understand the interplay of human resources in this process. Employees are the engine and livewire of any organization. Recruitment process across the value chain must be above board – square pegs in square holes. Strategic planning and staffing are critical success factors. Development and career planning must not only be deliberate but should be reflective of performance. Compensation and benefits must reflect the market and be transparently determined. Given the shortfall in human resources, task shifting is recommended.
“Ensure that your staff are up to date on global best practices. You must promote such practices that retain the workforce and halt regrettable attrition.”
Mr Inoyo noted that “much as possible, brain drain must be minimized”, adding that “despite how challenging the situation maybe, doctors must continue to take pride in the profession and remain committed to the fundamentals of the Hippocratic Oath”.
“You must re-skill yourself. No matter how difficult, please read and stay abreast of new developments in medicine and do not rely on past knowledge and experiences, as any misdiagnosis further erodes the confidence of your patients.”
The opening ceremony ended with presentation of awards to two of the panelists at the event: Mr. Udom Inoyo and Pst. Umo Bassey Eno. The presentation of award to Mr. Inoyo was in recognition of his support towards improving healthcare delivery in Akwa Ibom State.
Presenting the award, the State Chaiman of NMA, Dr. Ime Sylvester Udo, flanked by NMA’s National President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, celebrated Mr. Inoyo and partners for the donation of 11,000 PPE units to medical workers in the state in the heat of COVID 19 and the procurement and donation of state of the art PCR machine to Akwa Ibom State Government.
According to the NMA Chairman, “If you go to Ibom Specialist Hospital, the PCR machine there was donated by Mr. Udom Inoyo and partners”.
It could be recalled that, while the 11,000 PPE units were donated by Concerned Akwa Ibom Professionals in Lagos (CAKPIL), an association Mr. Inoyo currently coordinates; the PCR 3 machine was jointly donated by Inoyo Toro Foundation and Stanbic IBTC Bank.