President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah on Thursday described, the Nigeria health sector as being in turmoil, with numerous challenges affecting training and retraining of health professional, saying that 16 doctors died of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said that the challenges facing the Nigerian health sector are multi-diamentional, which include poor infrastructural, inadequate equipment, inadequate manpower and the competing demands for the review of the training curriculum for Doctors.
Ujah disclosed this in an address he presented during the Nigerian Medical Association Awka 2020 National Executive Council NEC, meeting held at Oma Event Center Awka, Anambra state.
The NMA NEC meeting had the theme “Medical doctors and leadership in the society: Time for a paradigm shift in medical training and a sub theme : Managing mental health in COVID-19 depressed economy.
He said the persistent despair in the health system underscores the need for a paradigm shift in the training of not only medical doctors, but all healthcare professionals in the country.
“We frown at any Medical and Dental practitioner who acts in a way that will bring our great profession into public opprobrium. NMA will continue to encourage our members to adopt the patient centered approach in clinical practice”he said.
He stated that 2020 was full of challenges and contradictions and NMA lost about 16 doctors to COVID-19.
He however gave glory to God for bringing the surviving doctors to the end of the year.
“I must thank the doctors for their untiring efforts and firmness to contain the global health emergency, the Coronavirus Disease, COVID-19, Pandemic in Nigeria.
“We are all witnesses to the violent turn of events that followed the #EndSARS protest staged largely by Nigerian youths across the country which affected the smooth continuation of 2020 Physicians Week.
Governor of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano who was represented by his deputy Dr Nkem Okeke called on the NMA to take the issue of procurement and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases very seriously.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, and Chairman of NMA, Anambra State, Dr Jide Onyekwelu, said health care delivery in Nigeria is not adequate, and COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inadequacy even more.
Onyekwelu queried the inadequacy of Nigeria’s health care delivery associated with the doctors, the system and the leadership, and how to put a halt to the ugly situation and turn things around, and the capacity to cope with the mental stress of the situation, saying that the NEC meeting has provided an ambient environment for brainstorming on answer to the questions and more.
Earlier in an opening speech, the Chairman of the occasion and traditional rule of Onitsha Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe lamented that Nigeria medical profession is witnessing brain drain and called on the Federal government to halt the situation with encouragement to the medical profession.