Nigerian doctors have been told to join politics so that they can be better positioned to influence health funding and ensure that Nigerians have access to quality healthcare delivery.
Making the call was Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan at the opening of the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association Oyo State branch in Ibadan.
He said doctors need to show more interest in politics, adding “if you are not where the budget is being discussed, Nigeria’s health sector will continue to suffer.”
Dr Adeduntan noting that politics is dominated now by lawyers said Nigeria health budget is far lower to other countries, despite its increasing health issues, a dearth of equipment and poor salaries of health workers.
He stated: “they decide the money to go to health and there is little doctors can do because they are not involved.”
Professor Jesse Otegbayo, in his guest lecture entitled “Sustainable Quality Healthcare Delivery: Myth or Reality”, at the meeting said quality healthcare delivery in Nigeria is a myth.
He said, “Nigeria’s health is one that the policymakers and operators themselves have no faith in when in need of quality health care.”
The don, saying there was decadence in most general hospitals in Nigeria, said this service arm for the second tier of healthcare have lost the confidence of patients and so they have moved on to tertiary health institutions.
“For over two decades running, our general hospitals have lost the accreditation of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to train the lowest cadre of doctors,” he added.
Professor Otegbayo said it will be pretentious based on Nigeria’s depressive health indices to say the nation was rendering qualitative services.
For quality healthcare services to be sustainable, he said there is a need to continue to evaluate our health care policies, utilising the principles of implementation science to know which policies work and which ones need to be jettisoned or modified.
To make quality health care a reality, he said primary health care must be pursued with much vigour and made to take its rightful place in healthcare delivery; health care financing must improve; more attention paid to family planning, and health manpower production improved.
The occasion’s chairman, Dr Gboyega Ajayi said Nigeria’s economic climate requires that doctors team up to acquire new technology required in the care of patients, especially in private clinics.
Dr Ajayi, who said that Nigeria to honour its excelling health workers as an incentive to those that stay back in the country, said doctors also must learn to socialise to correct the notion that doctors are proud and so can better influence policy in the county.