The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that there is an urgent need for a general overhaul of the nation’s primary and secondary healthcare system, which it says is currently in despicable state.
NMA made the call in Abuja yesterday through its President, Dr Osahon Enabulele, at a briefing to mark this year’s Physicians’ Week, which begins today in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The association said: “The despicable state of our primary and secondary healthcare systems under the control of local and state governments has created several problems and complications, including preference by an increasing population of Nigerians to have their basic healthcare needs attended to at the tertiary healthcare centres (top of the healthcare pyramid).
“Thereby suffocating and overstretching the available facilities and health human resources at the specialist/tertiary healthcare delivery level.
“Certainly, this has greatly contributed to the crisis of confidence in the Nigerian healthcare system on account of long waiting hours and other challenges faced by patients, with increasing reliance by Nigerians on unorthodox means to attend to their healthcare needs, including the patronage of quacks,” the body said.
The association noted that a recent survey it carried out showed that most primary and secondary healthcare systems are deficient in health human resource, lack basic healthcare facilities and services as well as adequate funding and essential drugs.
It added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had estimated that to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), African health services would need to train and retrain an extra one million health workers by 2010, and that almost three years down the line, most local and state governments in the country are yet to give priority to the recruitment, retention and development of the appropriate health human resources required for the objective.
The theme of the 2013 Physicians’ Week is: ‘Federalism and Nigeria’s Healthcare system; An appraisal of the Primary and Secondary healthcare systems.’