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How COVID-19 exposes Nigeria’s weakness in health sector by Senator Boroffice

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How COVID-19 exposes Nigeria’s weakness in health sector by Senator Boroffice 

***As Bill to establish Fed. University of Medicine, Ekiti, scales second reading

The deputy Senate majority Leader senator Ajayi Boroffice, has decried the inability of Nigeria to contribute to global effort in research to develope vaccine against the recent pandemic.

The situation he said exposed the weakness of Nigeria’s health sector, adding that, “it is obvious that necessary steps must be taken to remedy this very critical situation.”While other countries were engaged in critical academic research to produce the vaccine to tackle the pandemic, Nigeria was waiting in the wings to import the vaccine.Boroffice spoke while supporting the bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Iyin Ekiti. According to him, the insufficient number of teaching hospitals across the country has left graduates of the medical sciences with no option but to seek internship in other countries such as Ghana.“On the other hand, Mr. President, it is indeed unfortunate that when our graduates from the medical school, when they graduate, they cannot have the opportunity of internship in the country, which is always available in the tertiary institution. “And, there’s a great movement in droves of our young medical graduates to other countries like Ghana to seek internship experience. So, I’m sure that the establishment of this university teaching hospital will greatly help in reducing this problem. 
“Mr. President, we will also notice that in this recent pandemic, the discovery of the vaccine is usually in cooperation between the pharmaceutical companies and teaching hospitals. Whether you’re talking of Pfizer or AstraZeneca, and we have not been able to make any contribution to the development of vaccines. “I’m sure when we have teaching hospitals of very high quality, where the research is at cutting-edge, we would be able to make our contribution to the development of medical services globally.”
This is just as the bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Iyin Ekiti, on Tuesday scaled second reading in the Senate. Sponsor of the bill, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), while leading debate on the piece of legislation, said the establishment of the university would provide basic scientific training as a foundation for the development of medicine and allied disciplines. According to the lawmaker, “the enactment of this Bill will help in transforming the health and educational fortunes in Nigeria in producing the desired medical manpower and expertise that Nigeria is yearning for.” He added: “Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, our health has very high potentials, and requires high level technical, scientific and administrative skills to drive it. The university is therefore to further advanced knowledge through research and nurture unique innovations in the health sector.  “Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, this Bill is well organized for its very own purpose of a modern academic and research institution.  “The objectives of the University as articulated above are supportive of its mission and broad vision of a modern institution that will develop world-class medical personnel that can sustainably manage our nation’s Health sector by providing medical expertise at the highest level.  “The University is, therefore, to further advance knowledge through research and nurture unique innovations, entrepreneurship and wealth management in its core area of interest.” Bamidele disclosed that, the Ekiti State Government was willing and ready to part with over 1000 acres of land in support of the establishment of this institution. Contributing to the debate, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East), while lending his voice in support of the bill, attributed the inability of Nigerian researchers in the country to produce a vaccine for Covid-19 to the lack of research by medical scientists in universities.  “University of Medical and Health Sciences is very important in this country in terms of research. “If you look at what is happening now, all over the world countries like our are trying to produce vaccines which today we have not produced any. And I’m surprised why we have not done that.   “And, therefore, what we need is to have more of this research institutions so that they can sit down and look at this thing dispassionately and come up with some of these vaccine products,” he said.   “Mr. President, it is a known fact that the existing Teaching Hospitals in this country do not have the carrying capacity to admit all the candidates that are qualified to study medicine and, therefore, there’s a need to expand that carrying capacity. The establishment of this University would greatly enhance that capacity.  The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after the bill scaled second reading, referred it to the Committee on Health. The Committee which is Chaired by Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central) is expected to report back within four (4) weeks.  

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At last resident doctors bow to pressure, suspend nationwide strike

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At last resident doctors bow to pressure, suspend nationwide strike

The National Association of Resident Doctors, (NARD) on Saturday suspended its 10 days old strike after sustained pressure mounted on them to shelve the strike by stakeholders.
The National President of the Association, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said the strike was suspended after series of long hours of meetings with various stakeholders in the health sector.
He said based on their responsibility to Nigerians and the fact that the Federal government has met some of their demands they have no option but to call off the strike.

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Resident Doctors would account for the blood of any patient that dies on account of their ongoing strike action, says senate

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Resident Doctors would account for the blood of any patient that dies on account of their ongoing strike action, says senate

The Senate committee on health has faulted the strike action embarked upon by the resident Doctors which is having a telling effect on patients.

The chairman of the committee Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe said Nigerians would hold the resident doctors responsible for the blood of any patient that dies on account of their ongoing strike action.

Oloriegbe spoke at the public hearing  of the bill entitled  “Federal Medical Centre, Mubi, Adamawa State (Establishment) Bill, 2021” sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani) 

According to him, the National Assembly made every effort to avert the doctors ongoing strike to no avail. 

“We had a marathon meeting just before Easter on March 21st specifically and we agreed on all the issues that were raised by the resident doctors.

He said there three Germain issues which included the payment of salary to house officers which as at that time they also agreed had been essentially been cleared which was the major reason they wanted to go on strike.

“The second one was what they claimed to be payment to local resident doctors, which was an aberration where there was not supposed to be local but the government agreed to commence payment which has started to be done.

“Those are the two critical ones that were germane most of the other issues that were raised were not even issues within the purview of the federal government because they were issues of state governments that owed salaries or something. 

He said they are issues that relate to things that were in 2014, 2015 which was as at that meeting, the Federal Ministry of Finance confirmed that a committee has been set up to look at the other aspects. 

“So we are surprised that the resident doctors went on strike. However, we are not reneging, my counterparts in the house of Representatives are meeting with the resident doctors.”

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World Health Day: Govt decries shortage of vaccines as communities groan over neglect n Nasarawa

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World Health Day: Govt decries shortage of vaccines as communities groan over neglect n Nasarawa

Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

The Nassarawa State Government has raised the alarm over shortages of essential supplies of COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens who are yet to access the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination particularly the vulnerable persons in the state.

This state commissioner of health, Pharmacist Ahmed Baba-Yahaya made the disclosure during the World Health Day in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital on Wednesday.

According to him, “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the light on the inequalities among the citizens amidst shortages of essential supplies, poor people have been pushed to the back of the queue in accessing COVID-19 test kits in the state.”

He continued: “There are several shades of inequalities, discrimination based on gender, place of residence, income, educational level, age, ethnicity and disability to disadvantage of the vulnerable populations across the state.”

He, however, emphasized that there was need to start to act on the social and economic determinations of the people, by working across sectors to improve living and working conditions, particularly the marginalized groups.

While reacting on the challenges being faced by the vulnerable persons in the state, he urged leaders at various levels to work together to address inequalities in their respective countries, specially on COVID-19 vaccines.

The commissioner of health also admonished pharmaceutical companies to expand their manufacturing capacity to overcome current supply shortages in the state, urging wealthy individuals to partner with the state government so that the most at risk populations in all countries could be protected.

Also residents in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, Awe, Keana and Obi local government areas and others in the state have expressed worry over lack of access to COVID-19 test in their locality.

Narrating his ordeal, Mr. John Daniel, said they could not access the COVID-19 test in their community, owning to the fact that the health workers trained by the Primary Development Agency in charge of administering COVID-19 tests are focussing on tge rich in the state.

He said: “We are poor people. We have been relegatedto the background because we are not government workers.”

Also speaking to our correspondent, Ovey Timothy, said since the state government commenced the COVID-19 test the health workers have not be able to reach their community.

His words: “We are calling on the state government to urgently intervene and come to their rescue.”

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