The Nigerian Medical Association on Sunday said non-payment of workers’ salaries in many states in the country had worsened the health condition of Nigerians.
The NMA’s position was contained in a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council meeting in Enugu.
In the communique, read by its President, Prof. Mike Ogirima, the medical association asked the Federal Government, to, as a matter of urgency, provide special bailout for workers’ salaries and prevail on state governments to pay them as and when due.
“The continuous handling with levity of workers’ salaries by some state governors is worsening the health of Nigerians which depend on out-of-pocket payments and also causes internal and external brain drain, thus undermining the training and quality of service rendered by health professionals,” the NMA said.
Ogirima added that the earlier bailout given to the states by the Federal Government was mismanaged.
He said the medical body was canvassing another salary bailout for the states by virtue of its role as the ‘custodian’ of the people’s health.
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“The NMA and Nigerians are aware that some governors received bailout funds.
“We are also aware that some governors diverted the bailout funds even when the workers are being owed.
“The NMA, as the custodian of the people’s health, is urging the Federal Government to do the needful because indices we are getting about the health implications of the non-payment of workers’ salaries on people’s health is worrisome,” Ogirima explained.
The NMA also demanded the full implementation of the provisions of the National Health Act, 2014, and expanded access of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The association noted that failure to fully implement the law had undermined the aspirations of ordinary Nigerians for better health care delivery.
“This (nonimplementation of provisions of NHA, 2014) has led to worsening health indices with persistent high maternal and under-five mortality rates, infrastructural decay and poor motivation of health professionals.
“The current economic crisis in our country and high rate of out-of-pocket payments for health care services, coupled with the low accessibility of the National Health Insurance Scheme, is not only threatening the health care delivery system but has made achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria a mirage,” the communique said.
Ogirima described as unacceptable, a system where most civil servants were not captured in the NHIS.
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