The Nigeria Medical Association has urged the Federal Government to compensate victims of the bombing in Tudun Biri, Kaduna State, which caused the death of many innocent civilians on December 4.
The army admitted mistakenly bombing the victims while targeting insurgents and bandits.
The National President of the NMA, Dr Uche Ojinmah, made the call at a news conference in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that the call was part of the resolutions reached at the end of the association’s National Executive Council meeting in Abuja held from December 10 to Dec. 17.
Mr Ojinmah said that the association commiserated with the Kaduna State government and the Federal Government, as well as commended the military for accepting responsibility and offering apology.
The NMA national president called on the Federal Government to adequately compensate the victims and foot the bills of those in hospitals.
He urged the military to improve the precision of their intelligence reports to avert a recurrence of the incident.
Mr Ojinmah also called on the Federal Government to address naira fall which, he said, caused a negative effect on the price of medications, and brought more suffering to fellow citizens.
He said firming the naira would enhance access to Universal Health Coverage for all and sundry and reduce out of pocket expenditure for healthcare.
Mr Ojinmah noted that it was the time for governments at all levels to think towards UHC to help the people.
He called for caution on the political crisis rocking River State, saying political gladiators should consider the best interest of the people in their engagements.
On a government directive that all cases of medical emergencies should be treated by doctors in private and public hospitals, Ojinmah asked “who pays the bill for these emergency cases, especially in private hospitals.”
The NMA president, who said private hospitals are specifically opened for business, stated that where things were done properly, the government should have UHCs whereby insurance could take care of these emergency cases.
He queried why the National Health Act 2014 which was passed and signed since 2014, and provided that one per cent from the first line charge should be set aside partly to fund the Basic Health Care, had yet to be implemented.
“The basic healthcare fund is supposed to take care of the first 48 to 72 hours of emergencies for every Nigerian. This has not been implemented till today, so if you ask private practitioners to treat people freely, they won’t do that. These are issues that should be untangled before we start issuing directives.’’ He said.
The NMA President also spoke on the directive by the Inspector General of Police that gunshot patients, without police reports, should be treated, saying that doctors are ready to comply, but noted that police officers should also comply with the directive.
He alleged that police officers always harass hospitals on such emergency cases.
He said that the police must do their part by respecting the order from the IG, adding that doctors are ready to take care of Nigerians.
The NMA President also noted the progressive exit of international pharmaceutical companies and other companies from Nigeria, stressing that the situation has become worrisome for the NMA.
He said such a situation portends danger for the country’s healthcare delivery and economy, calling on the government to improve on the ease of doing business in the country and quickly stabilise the economy so that companies will stay.
Mr Ojinmah also referred to the problems which medical students at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State, and Ambrose Alli University, Ekpom, in Edo State, are passing through.
He alleged that authorities of the two institutions have issued orders contrary to training standards, adding “you can’t force a man to change course due to the lack of accreditation when he came in to study medicine.”
He also called on journalists to beam their searchlight on the institutions and find out what is going on, saying that NMA is watching those institutions closely.
Mr Ojinmah called on the authorities of the schools to reverse the policies they have for the students or face the wrath of medical doctors in Nigeria.
The NMA President also gave the Federal government up till January 31, 2024, to implement the upward review of consolidated medical salary structure and implement the newly approved accruement allowance with arrears from June 2023.
He said that NMA cannot guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector if its demands, particularly on welfare, were not met.
The NMA President disclosed that the allowances had been approved since July 1, 2023.
He said, “We cannot be talking of brain drain and the little the country could do to assuage it, the government is not doing that.”