The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Kogi chapter, has said that it will make conscious efforts to include health issues as major campaign considerations for choosing the next governor of the state in the coming Nov. 16 governorship election in the state.
Dr Kabiru Zubair, the state’s chairman of NMA, gave the assurance at the association’s 2019 Annual General Meeting(AGM) and Scientific Conference in Lokoja on Friday.
The theme of the AGM was “Kogi Health Sector: Consolidating on the Gains and Reversing the Drain”.
According to Zubair, the theme was carefully chosen to x-ray the progress made in the health sector in the last few years and to identify lapses and how to improve on them.
”Coincidentally, this AGM is coming just four months to the next governorship election in the state.
”The NMA will put health in the front burner as a major campaign issue as the political gladiators crisscross the state to canvass for votes,” he said.
He commended the Kogi Government for the improvement in the payment of salaries and arrears of workers in the last few months.
Zubair said the NMA had made meaningful progress using dialogue to resolve some of their challenges with Kogi Government without resorting to industrial action in the last one year.
”The nagging issues that warranted the call for industrial action by the Congress during the last administration are gradually easing out.
”But we still have some pending outstanding 12 months’ salary arrears of two doctors, and arrears of our members in the State Civil Service; the 2017 Aug. to 2017 Dec. balance of 40 per cent; January 2018 salary and that of March to June 2019.
”We plead with the state government to expedite action on these problems,” he said.
He further urged the governor to critically consider the implementation of corrected CONMESS, to help in stemming the wave of exodus of doctors from the state civil service.
Gov. Yahaya Bello, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr David Onoja, commended the NMA for appreciating the government’s efforts to improve the health sector.
Bello reiterated that the state government had made significant strides in bringing quality healthcare delivery to the people of the state.
He said immunisation coverage had improved from 38 per cent in 2016 to nearly 70 per cent in 2019.
He added that maternal mortality had dropped from about 800 deaths per 100, 000 life births to 249 deaths per 100,000 life births, pledging to keep driving the trend downwards.
The governor assured the NMA that all outstanding salaries and payments would be paid up to July 2019, saying the state government had received the outstanding N30.8 billion bailout fund.
Dr Saka Audu, the State Commissioner for Health, commended the NMA for their resilience and collaboration in providing healthcare services to Kogites especially during the 2018 flood disaster that ravaged some parts of Kogi.
He stressed that the state government had made concerted efforts to direct their resources to give quality healthcare delivery to the people at the grassroots who needed it most.
Also speaking, Dr Abubakar Yakubu, the Executive Director, Kogi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KSPHCDA), thanked the NMA for the critical role they were playing in Kogi health sector, and called for more support.
A key note speaker, Prof. Innocent Ujah, delivered a paper on the topic: ”Kogi State Health Sector: Consolidating On The Gains; Reversing The Drain; Implications For Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC)”.
Ujah, a Consultant Obstetrician; Gynaecoloy, University of Jos, said health system in Nigeria was not doing well, and urged governments at all levels to effectively implement the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) system.
According to Ujah, the UHC will ensure that everybody has access to quality healthcare service without necessarily paying high amount for it.
In his presentation, Mr Kelvin David from the Department of State Services, urged the people to be security and conscious and always be vigilant to their immediate environment.
He urged the people not to display their wealth but maintain low profiles and be kind to others especially families, domestic workers, drivers, and ensure they always know the whereabouts of their childrenas safety measures. (NAN)
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