Doctors seek health bank, dedicated fund to halt medical tourism
• Laboratory scientists protest at UNTH against management policies
The Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria has called for the establishment of a health bank and dedicated fund to stop medical tourism.
The National President of the Association, Dr. Frank Odafen, who made the call in Abuja, said it would make dialysis and organ transplant to become cheaper in the country.
He explained that the facility would further assist private and allied medical practitioners to procure hi-tech medical equipment at a single digit rate.
According to him, the over $1billion spent yearly on such medical tourism to India, China and Europe is eating deep into the nation’s foreign reserve.
Odefen urged government to partner the association to establish a world centre for healthcare delivery where Nigerians can access effective, affordable and reliable services.
He also canvassed private doctors’ involvement in policy formation, adding that members of the association are responsible for the healthcare of over 70percent of Nigerians.
He pledged the doctors’ commitment to reducing the high maternal mortality rate in the country. Meanwhile, medical activities were paralysed yesterday at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State.
This followed the protest by medical laboratory scientists against alleged anti-retrogressive policies in the institution. The protesters, under the aegis of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, marched round the hospital carrying various placards while singing solidarity songs.
The Chairman of the association, Mr. Francis Aneke said the protest was against attempts by the management to render them redundant and make the people to suffer. They condemned the management’s plan to contract privately owned laboratories in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
“There is an illegally operated medical laboratory in the ICU which conducts tests at exorbitant costs. At the unit, doctors and nurses give specific instructions to patients to patronise the laboratory,” they alleged.
However, the Chairman of Medical Advisory Committee in the UNTH, Dr. Obinna Onodugo commended the protesters for their peaceful action and promised to communicate their demands to the chief medical director.