On 23/Oct/2019 / In Medical News
The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof Francis Faduyile, has lamented the lack of commitment to the implementation of the National Health Act (2004), which provides for the care of patients in an emergency, in the country.
Faduyile said this in Lagos at an event organised by the Lagos chapter of the NMA to mark the 2019 Physician Week with the theme, ‘Care of Unknown Patient: Policy Overview and Review.’
“The theme was chosen to bring to fore the issues affecting Nigerians who suddenly found themselves in an unconscious state from traumatic causes, majorly road traffic accident or medical conditions like cardiovascular diseases or simply from whatever that significantly impairs the consciousness of the patient with attendant difficulty in proper identification. Any Nigerian could fall into this category.
“The NMA wishes to bring to the knowledge of the public that the Nigerian Government has not deemed it pertinent to accord the desired attention and value to this category of patients, the unknown patients. There is lack of commitment to the implementation of the National Health Act (Enacted in 2014), which reasonably provides for the care of patients in emergencies, including those with identity challenges; no enduring policy to cater for victims of road accidents (a major cause of morbidity and mortality) which accounts for large numbers of unknown patients,” Faduyile said.
The NMA President also lamented the neglect of gunshot victims, which is against the provision of the National Health Act.
“There is no policy statement that addresses the various components of emergency care services for this set of patients. It is pertinent to emphasise that though there is a provision of funds for emergency care within the framework of NHA 2014 the disbursement procedure is largely ambiguous.
“Therefore, while appreciating the Federal Government for the release of the one per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund part of which should be channeled to the treatment of emergency conditions, it is sad to note that the Federal Ministry of Health is yet to put a template in place for judicious use. The NMA is perplexed that the Federal Ministry of Health is concentrating on purchasing ambulances rather than rolling out mechanisms that are all-encompassing and would address all the critical aspects of emergency care services including proper and adequate reimbursement of providers especially at the level of private health care facilities,” he said.
He also called for an enduring and unambiguous policy statement that takes into consideration the critical aspects of the care of emergencies, as well as the provision of defibrillators at the strategic public arena and health facilities for the prompt care of patients with a heart attack and related conditions.
The Lagos NMA Chairman, Dr Saliu Oseni, advocated for a policy to be put in place to ensure easy access to refund by the health facility in the caring for the unknown patient as well as to include them in the health insurance scheme.
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