National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting of Medical and Dental Consultants' Association Of Nigeria Held at the Monablis Hotel, Mile 50, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State From 14th to 17th April, 2019.
The National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Medical and Dental Consultants' Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) hosted by the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA)/AIex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital (AEUTH) chapter, was held at the Monablis Hotel, Mile 50 Abakaliki, Ebonyi State from 14th -17th April, 2019. The theme of the meeting was "Health System Strengthening and Universal Health Coverage while the sub-Theme was “The Role of MDCAN in Hospital Administration”.
The opening ceremony was chaired by His Excellency Prof Chigozie C. Ogbu, the Vice Chancellor, Ebony' State University (EBSUTH), Abakaliki, former Chief Medical Director of the defunct Ebony State University Teaching Hospital (EBSUTH) and former Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State. The Special Guest of Honour was the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr. (Dr) David Nweze Umahi, FNSE, FNATE,
The Chief Host was the Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA)/Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital (AEUTH), Dr Eureka Orion Ogah, who also delivered the guest lecture on the sub-theme. The Guest Lectures on the theme were delivered by Prof. Lawrence Ulu Ogbonnaya, Dean Faculty of Clinical Medicine, College of Health. Sciences, Ebonyi State University and Prof Chigozie Jesse Uneke, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics/Director African Institute for Health Policy and Systems, Ebonyi State University.
The NEC meeting which was attended by 95 delegates, including some Medical Directors from 51 chapters across the country, deliberated on numerous delivery issues of importance to health care delivery in Nigeria, welfare of members and the well-being of Nigerians.
During the meeting, NEC observed as follows:
1. The recent upsurge in and persistent harassment of our members by the authorities of some public Universities In the country as it relates to the possession, or otherwise, of PhD for career progression, despite a circular issued by National Universities Commission in 2012 on this subject, is worrisome.
2. That payment of shortfall and disparities in the remuneration of our members in some state and Federal health institutions have persisted. This has dampened morale of members in affected institutions and resulted in difficulty in recruiting young specialists into academics with attendant long-term negative consequences on medical education in the country.
3. The unfortunate situation where some state governments do not pay salaries and allowances of consultants, medical doctors and other health workers for as long as 6 -12 months was condemnable. NEC noted that no government that takes the health of her citizens seriously will neglect to pay the salaries and allowances of her medical and health workers, knowing that their work output will be adversely affected.
4. The magnitude of brain drain has become alarming. Medical doctors (including our members) are leaving the country in droves for greener pastures in Europe, North America and the Middle East, despite the huge investment of the nation’s resources in their training. The reasons for this were noted to be multi-factorial and include, but not limited to, poor working environment, lack of job satisfaction, poor remuneration and heightened insecurity in the country.
5. The budgetary allocation and state of infrastructure in most public hospitals and universities are grossly inadequate and impact negatively on the ability of these public health and educational institutions to deliver on their mandate.
6. The incidence of medical tourism by our citizens has continued to increase with loss of scarce foreign exchange and the negative impact on the economy and the health system of the country.
7. In recognition of the importance of a healthy population in the development of a country, there is need for the government to institute measures to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all Nigerians within the shortest possible time frame.
8. Our members, as critical stakeholders and leaders in the health sector have crucial roles to play in the provision of world class medical care and services to Nigerians despite prevailing sub-optimal working conditions. There is need for re-dedication to this cause.
9. The persistence of Lassa fever outbreaks in parts of the country was noted as very disturbing.
10. NEC was concerned about the continuation of various forms of insecurity across the country, despite containment efforts of the law enforcement agencies. This situation has resulted in loss of lives and properties, and rising number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, with attendant social dislocations and health challenges.
11. NEC congratulated the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the government and Nigerians for the relatively peaceful and successful conclusion of the recently held 2019 general elections, believing that the lessons learnt from the exercise will positively impact on future elections in the country.
After extensive and in-depth deliberations, NEC resolved are as follows:
1. Reaffirmed the association's earlier position rejecting the imposition of PhD on her members as a prerequisite for career progression in Nigerian Universities. Authorities of Nigerian universities are to stop further intimidation and harassment of clinical teachers on account of this. The National Universities Commission (NUC) is urged to take necessary measures to protect our members in such universities in order not to jeopardize undergraduate medical training in the country
2. Relevant agencies of government (state and federal) are urged to take measures to clear all outstanding salary shortfall in order to boost the morale of our members, thereby improving their efficiency, output and health outcomes for our population.
3. Demand that state government owing salaries should immediately pay up all accrued salary arrears of consultants, medical doctors and other health workers in their employ in order to ensure continued delivery of health services.
4. In order to curb the dearth of clinical teachers with attendant negative impact on medical education in the country, relevant government agencies should take appropriate steps to correct the disparity in salary between the two categories of medical consultants. This will encourage young specialists to take up pests in the academics.
5. The federal governments is urged to set machinery in motion to thoroughly investigate the causes (immediate and remote) of the current epidemic of brain drain involving medical doctors and other health care professionals in the country with a view to Proffering lasting solutions to curb the menace in Mani interest of our citizens and the country.
6. There is need for governments to urgently increase budgetary allocations and release funds to health and education sectors in line with international agreements to which Nigeria is a signatory. This action will go a long way to reverse medical tourism, and improve the educational and socio-economic status of citizens of the country.
7. Governments at all levels should take measures to strengthen the health system as a foundation for the attainment of sustainable Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians. The need for urgency in ensuring implementation of this cannot be over-emphasized
8. The association will continue to take steps to ensure that members discharge their duties creditably. Partnership with the federal and state governments in this regard is welcome.
9. Continued engagement of the National Assembly to enact new legislations or amend existing ones to enhance the quality of health care delivery to Nigerians and minimize industrial unrest in the health sector to be sustained.
10. Relevant government agencies, including the Federal Ministry of Health were commended for measures being taken to contain the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country. MDCAN is ready and willing to partner with the government, by providing technical assistance, with a view to bringing this scourge to a speedy end.
11. Security agencies are implored to take necessary steps to curtail the spate of insecurity in the country as its consequences on the socio-economic status, well-being and health of Nigerians are far-reaching. It is trite to state that meaningful development can only occur in a peaceful environment MDCAN will continue to give support (material and technical/professional) to persons affected by the various forms of insecurity.
MDCAN expresses her profound gratitude to the Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA)/Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital (AEUTH), Dr. Emeka Onwe Ogah, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee FETH/AEUTH, Dr. Onoh Robinson, the entire management of FETHA/AEUTH and Prof. C. Nwajuba, the Vice Chancellor, NICK Ekwuerne Federal University, Ndufu Alike limo (AE-FUNAI) for their moral and financial support towards the successful hosing of the NEC meeting.
Prof. Ngim E. Ngim
Dr. Affiong Ibanga