Governor Okowa addressing the audience at the NMA event.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has challenged members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to be advocates for making operational, the Nigeria Health Act.
He made the call yesterday, Wednesday (24/10/18) at the opening ceremony of the Physicians’ Week organised by the Delta State Council of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in conjunction with the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC) in Asaba.
The Governor made the point that “wherever we find the opportunity, we should continue to talk about the need to operationalise the Health Act
“As a nation, have we done well? The answer is, no! The issue that concerns universal health coverage started in 2004; today, we are still struggling to achieve the 100 per cent mark; I am very worried because, for many years, the issue of health insurance was limited to only federal workers, states did not key into it due to low advocacy.”
He continued, “if the one per cent fund of the federal budget as enshrined in the 2014 national health act was released, in collaboration with the states, many of the less privileged and poor will have access to universal health care and I pray that the fund will be released so that we can have total health coverage in the country.”
While commending NMA for having “Universal Health Coverage, Leaving No One Behind,” as its theme, urged other states of the federation to take a cue from Delta State and implement the national health Act as it will enable the country to have full health coverage. He assured that his administration will continue to improve on health services in the state.
President of NMA in the state, Dr Omo Ekeneam said, “the Physicians’ Week is an annual event of the NMA; it is a weeklong event which aims at drawing government attention to selected health issues that will impact positively on the health indices of the nation and the state.”
He had earlier on Tuesday, 23/10/2018 while addressing journalists during the Free Medical programme carried out by the NMA at the Government Hospital, Ubulu-Uku, in Aniocha South LGA of Delta State, to mark her 2018 Physicians Week urged Deltans to key into the State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme for the purpose of accessing affordable, adequate and convenient health care services when the need arises.
Dr. Ekeneam explained that while such an outreach is done on yearly basis, it affords the medical practitioners in the state an opportunity to use their knowledge for the betterment of humanity.
According to him, “Doctors are humanitarians. This programme is a way of giving back to society, especially when the theme of this year’s Physicians Week is ‘Universal Health Coverage’.
“Talking about Universal Health Coverage, it is ensuring that every citizen has access to health care.
On this note, I advice every Deltan, and by extension Nigerian to key into the Health Insurance Scheme for the purposes of accessing health care services and preventing some killer diseases through early detection”, the NMA Chairman affirmed, he said.
In addition, the Vice Chairman of NMA and LOC Chairman of Physicians Week, Dr. Onyi Owa-Nwabuzo observed that the Free Medical Outreach was a huge success, owing to the large turn out of beneficiaries.
She lauded the team of doctors for bringing out their time and resources to engage in such humanitarian service, adding that the experience was worthwhile and satisfying giving back to society.
Dr. Owa however, called on the government to formulate a sustainable health policy system that allows every citizen to access health needs as conveniently affordable as possible.
While thanking the Ubulu-Uku palace and the community for their hospitality and support, she advised all and sundry to regularly do a health check for their own benefits.
Meanwhile, the doctors gave a wide range of consultations and treated beneficiaries of various health challenges, including dental and eye screening and giving out of free eyeglasses.