Leaders and stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Kwara South have protested an alleged exclusion of members of the zone from the party’s Presidential Campaign Council.
Mr Adebayo Daramola, APC Elder and Secretary General, Kwara South Consultative Forum (KSCF), protested the exclusion in a statement issued on Sunday.
He said such exclusion was an afront on the collective sensibility of APC members from the zone.
He added that it would not augur well to exclude the zone that had sacrificed more for the party.
Members of the APC Presidential Campaign Council that made the list from Kwara in the just released names include: Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, La’Aziz Jimoh, Mr Issa Aremu, Mr Issa Onilu.
Others are Mr Rahman Giwa, Sen Gbemisola Saraki, Sen Ibrahim Oloriegbe Ishiaq Modibbo Kawu and Baba Rasaq, the Governor’s younger brotherDaramola expressed worries over the development, adding that all the names released were from Kwara Central and this remained great concern that must be rectified without delay by the leadership of the party.
He said that this is how marginalisation began, but added that such must not be allowed to stand as it would jeopardiae the unity of the party in the state.
He said that the lopsidedness should be holistically addressed in a comprehensive manner that would bring about cohesion in the APC.
According to him, “we should not entertain the impending marginalisation because our fear is that if Sen Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the party eventually wins, I hope we won’t be facing same in future appointments.
The statement said that the people of Kwara South APC would not fail to tell such obvious truth, adding that the people had so many competent hands that could function well and add value to the campaign council.
Daramola also frowned at the alienation of Kwara North from the campaign council, stressing that such exclusion was capable of distabilising the party ahead of the general elections.
He urged the governor to immediately intervene, to forestall the danger such exclusion could pose to the unity of the party as the electioneering campaign began.
Brain drain: Nigeria may import medical doctors in future —NMA Brain drain: Nigeria may import medical The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says the nation’s skyrocketing brain drain wave may culminate in the country resorting to hiring medical doctors to treat local patients in the future.
The NMA also warned that if urgent steps were not taken to fix the deteriorating situation, it may lead to total collapse of the health system in the country.
The Oyo State NMA Chairman, Dr. Ayotunde Fasunla, raised the alarm in Ibadan on Tuesday, at the official opening of the 2022 scientific conference, titled: ‘National Health Authority Act – The Sound Bites’.
The event has as a sub-theme: ‘Industrial Harmony in the Health Sector – A Necessity for Health Sector Growth.
” The body also called for a state of emergency in the health sector with a view to holistically addressing the menace of pull and push factors, responsible for mass migration of health personnel to Europe, America, Middle East and other African countries.
Fasunla stated further that the poor state of the government owned hospitals in the country was largely due to poor funding.
He noted that the budgetary allocation to the health sector in 2022 was approximately 4.2 per cent of the national budget.
According to him, the figure falls significantly below the recommendation of the African Union (AU) at the Abuja Declaration of a minimum of 15 per cent.
The situation, he said, was worse at the state level.
He said: “The infrastructure deficit is such that some of our hospitals spend a significant amount of their internally generated revenues on diesel to ensure power supply.
“There is scarcity of funds to apply for equipment upgrade, manpower development or even recruitment of new staff.
“Many of our hospitals are grossly under-staffed.
Even the process of replacing migrating staff is bogged down by a rigid and insensitive government bureaucracy.
“It is our plea to the government to commit more funds to the health sector so that the system does not collapse.
“Only healthy people can have the will and strength to contribute to the growth and development of a nation’s economy.
“Therefore, I call on well-meaning Nigerians, philanthropists, and non-governmental organisations to join hands with the government to improve the conditions of the health system in the nation, especially Oyo state.
It is obvious that the government cannot handle it alone.
” The Chairman, Medical Advisory Council, University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Dr. Abiodun Adeoye, stated that the brain drain in the health sector should be treated as a national emergency.
Adeleye, who represented UCH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Abiodun Otegbayo, stressed the importance of the power of industrial harmony in the health sector towards boosting quality and robust healthcare in Nigeria.
He urged the health sector personnel to shun all forms of rifts that had been considered to be deleterious to the healthcare system.
Also speaking, Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr.Taiwo Ladipo, who represented Gov. Seyi Makinde, noted that the brain drain syndrome had become an issue that should not be treated with levity.
He stated that the state recruited about 530 medical and health personnel within the last one year, and 20 among them, including 12 consultants had left the services of the state government.
“We should look inward and ensure that the health system does not collapse,” he said Chief Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Budo-Egba, Kwara State, Dr. Baba Issa, also supported calls for the declaration of a state of emergency in the healthcare sector.
Issa presented the keynote address of the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, on the theme of the scientific conference, Oloriegbe stated that since inception of the health insurance scheme, a total of 7,762,034, representing 3.88 per cent of the 200 million population of Nigeria have enrolled into the scheme.
He said a lot should be done to increase the number of enrollees towards addressing the issues plaguing the country’s health sector.
Emeritus Prof. Oluwole Akande, a former Chief Medical Director, UCH, and chairman of the occasion, said that two factors were responsible for brain drain in the country.
He identified them as pull and push factors, explaining that the pull factor encompasses the incentives being used by other countries to poach the medical and health workers.
“The push factor refers to conditions of service, unfriendly environment, inadequate funding and so on that have been forcing the experts to emigrate to other countries in search of greener pastures,” Akande said.
The Nigeria Medical Association, FCT Chapter, has appealed to the Federal Government to beef up security in the FCT following recent threats in the environs.
The Chairman of NMA FCT Chapter, Dr Enema Amodu, made the appeal on Sunday at a news conference to unveil programmes lined for the 2022 Scientific General Meeting (AGM) of the association.
He said: “Lately, there had been bold incursions into the FCT, and this would negatively impact on the socio-economic indices of the FCT, and by extension the nation at large.
” He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to take very definite measures to curb the evolving menace within FCT and its environs.
The Chairman also said the programmes lined up for the 2022 week-long Scientific would be a unique one where issues on health insurance would be discussed.
He said the theme for the 2022 Scientific would be mainly on the National Health Insurance Authority Act, a bill he said was before the National Assembly, sponsored by Sen Ibrahim Oloriegbe.
According to him, the importance of the health insurance act could not be over emphasised if Nigeria must achieve a broader universal health coverage to change the narrative of the health sector.
He said other issues which continue to stifle the development of the health sector like intra-professional rivalry would also be discussed.
“This AGM will be an opportunity for us to take stock of the situation, and our activities as doctors and healthcare providers.
“This AGM will also witness election of new officers to take over the mantle of leadership; as there can only be one person per time, I call on all contestants to play politics devoid of malice and bitterness.
“NMA belongs to all of us, and at the end of the day, NMA will win,” he stressed.
…… .As the mission wants Nigeria to map humanitarian aid
By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The United Nations has called for concerted efforts to rid Nigeria and the rest of the world of suffering, hunger and poverty as the world marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
UN Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed revealed this Thursday in Abuja, while delivering a speech at the Humanitarian Action Conference hosted by InnerCity Mission, an NGO.
It was even then that panelists who attended the event called on religious leaders and wealthy Nigerians to contribute more in humanitarian aid rather than spending on extravagance and the purchase of private jets.
The InneCity mission, founded in 2004 by Reverend Chris Onyakhilome, is a faith-based, child-centered non-governmental organization with a presence in 82 countries around the world that has affected the lives of more than 20 million children.
The mission, which has provided more than 300 million meals for schoolchildren as well as free schools, has also provided humanitarian aid to families of needy children whom they send to school without tuition fees.
The theme of the 2021 conference, the second in the series, is: “Charging new frontiers in humanitarian aid”. The theme emphasized collaboration, ownership and transformation.
Mohammed, whose speech was read by Dr Mike Egboh, said the need for humanitarian assistance and the fight against poverty has become more urgent with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that the pandemic, which revealed serious gaps in socio-economic indices in many countries, had now left the world to walk towards recovery on the path of sustainable development.
She recognized that beyond the pandemic, crises that erupt like the one in Afghanistan and Ethiopia, and the famine that threatens in many parts of the world, more and more women and girls are most threatened by poverty.
Mohammed said that while the pandemic has exposed social inequalities, it has also taught us important lessons that we must strive to adhere to.
“It also exposed the deep inequalities that afflict indigenous peoples, especially women and girls.
“The pandemic has taught us important lessons: better social protection, universal health care, vaccine equity, effective governance and strong institutions would have saved lives.
"This call for six important actions: we must ensure that the experiences and priorities of women remain at the heart of humanitarian action, we must ensure that women are involved in humanitarian decision-making," he said. she declared.
She stressed the need to bring women's organizations and leaders to the table.
“We need to fund women's and local organizations so that they can truly empower and support communities in crisis. In many countries, women's groups are actively engaged in implementing the humanitarian, development and peace nexus, making these efforts more sustainable and equitable in the long term.
“We need to better connect development and humanitarian work to achieve the ambition of the SDGs and for countries facing a growing number of crises and a climate emergency to own the pathways to the SDGs.
“So the sixth call to action is to work with governments to mobilize and align a wide range of funding sources - public and private, national and international - to help these governments rebuild better.
“This is our decade of ambitious action to achieve the SDGs. Our collective action to empower marginalized people, including women and girls - Let's all work together to end the suffering, ”she said.
In his remarks, InnerCity Mission Board Chairman Reverend Tom Amekhene recounted how the NGO has struggled to reach vulnerable Nigerians during the pandemic.
He said the mission focused on hard-to-reach communities, caring for vulnerable children, families and communities, providing food relief, health care, emergency education, as well as a psychological support.
“The question now is What Next? - No better time than now to deliberate on the theme of this year's conference.
“Now is the time to map the current humanitarian aid landscape in Nigeria and beyond; time to plan a course for a better future.
We currently have our humanitarian footprints in 82 countries. In Nigeria, us, ”he said.
A member of the National Assembly, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, welcomed the initiative, stressing that he was exceptionally happy that it was a Nigerian initiative.
Oloriegbe, who used to volunteer for mission activities, assured that he would take concrete steps to contribute to the work of the NGO.
He said there are many wealthy Nigerians who are not contributing humanitarian aid, urging all Nigerians to contribute in their own way to help vulnerable people.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of 11 children, some of whom were chosen as abandoned babies; they were helped, fed and educated by the mission and they were now in university education.
In her welcoming speech, the conference coordinator, Ms. Omoh Alabi, said that the conference aims to mobilize key actors in the humanitarian sphere to take action to end poverty in all its forms.
“Our goals for this year are to discuss the issues, challenges and lessons learned in eradicating poverty, especially among women and children.
“This conference will encourage us to provide a safe space to foster and promote peer-to-peer collaboration among humanitarian actors.
“Ultimately, the reason we're here is to ensure that adequate humanitarian assistance reaches those who need it most,” she said.
The President of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA), Ms. Salamatu Yahaya Farouk, also insisted on the need for collaboration between humanitarian aid organizations to record more milestones.
Ms Farouk, who is also the wife of the army chief of staff, said that NAOWA, being also a humanitarian organization, was willing to collaborate with the InnerCity mission.
She stressed that security guards were most affected by the continuing insecurity, with many dying, others injured, while some lost limbs and sometimes became disabled.
While stressing that there was a lot to be done to help injured soldiers, she pledged to sow in the work of the mission.
By Naomi Sharang
The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill for the establishment of the Federal University of Health and Medical Sciences, Iyin-Ekiti, in Ekiti.
The passage followed the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary) presented by the Chairman, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe during plenary.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Michael Bamidele (APC-Ekiti), Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
Presenting the report on Wednesday, Oloriegbe who said that the bill was read for the second time on March 16, said it sought to advance learning and higher education in the field of medicine and environmental sciences.
He further said that the establishment of the university would provide basic scientific training as a foundation for the development of medicine and allied disciplines.
He said, “The bill is to provide a highly specialised institution that is not only productive but needed for medical advancement of the country.
“The University will be delivering education and training to current and future employees of medical profession.
“The goal of the university is to inspire and motivate students and medical personnel about the value of becoming health professionals so as to lead the change for realising a more sustainable health sector that serves a more sustainable world.” (www. )
…….As NASS appeals to NARD to resume work
By Katurak Yashim
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) on Thursday inducted 879 foreign-trained medical and dental graduates amidst an ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The induction was conducted at the headquarters of the council in Abuja after a successful examination by the inductees organised by the MDCN at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, in June 2021.
The induction took place even as the National Assembly (NASS) urged resident doctors to return to work, assuring that the Federal Government is working to address the issues raised by its leadership.
The 862 medical and 17 dental graduates who studied at various universities abroad were inducted into the MDCN, giving them the license to practice medicine and dentistry in the country.
Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, said that the induction came with mixed feelings for the health sector and the federal government due to the ongoing NARD strike.
“Despite the joy of today, it is unfortunate that we have some of our colleagues who are not working now in the hospitals. A lot of our citizens are suffering as a result of this.
“We use this opportunity to call on the resident doctors to go back to work and serve humanity like they have been called to do.
“Whatever the issues at stake are, it is being handled by those of us who have the responsibility to ensure that payments are made. The process is ongoing,” he said.
Oloriegbe charged the newly inducted graduates to take their pledge to serve humanity seriously by working diligently and maintaining the confidentiality of their patients at all times.
Rep. Tanko Sununu, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, also enjoined the inductees to abide by the ethics of the profession as anyone found wanting would be prosecuted.
“For the MDCN, ignorance is not an excuse to commit any offence as a doctor; you will be prosecuted.
“Always seek the patient’s consent before carrying out medical procedures to allow the patient to make informed decisions as they have the right to be heard and receive the right treatment.
“What you have done so far is child’s play. You must begin now to expand your knowledge and skill henceforth so that you can be able to guide your patients,” he advised.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, said that the induction has added to the health workforce which would help push the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari for the sector.
“The President’s roadmap to achieve the next level agenda on ‘Delivering on the Government’s Priorities 2019-2023’ charges the health sector to build on Human Capital Development by improving on health outcomes.
“Today’s induction is significant in that 879 practitioners will be added to the group of medical personnel that is already working to actualise this vision,” Ehanire said.
The minister however cautioned the inductees against issuing fake sick and death certificates to persons who were not sick and still alive.
Prof. Abba Hassan, the Chairman, MDCN, had earlier said that the induction was divided into three batches to abide by COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
Hassan stated that out of the 1,000 medical graduates and 33 dental graduates that sat for the examination, only 862 and 17, respectively, were successful.
Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, the Registrar, MDCN, cautioned the new inductees against breaking the rules guiding the profession, adding that any doctor certified to be a danger to public health would be suspended.
“The council has a disciplinary organ which is made up of an investigative panel and the disciplinary tribunal. The panel conducts a preliminary investigation into alleged professional misconduct.
“If the panel feels in any situation that you constitute a danger to public health, you will be suspended immediately; of course the trial will be facilitated,” he warned.
The registrar advised them against joining the NARD strike and also against resigning after being assigned residency positions at health facilities across the country.
“Under no condition will you write back to say you want to resign. If you wish to resign you must return all the salaries you have been paid. We are not entertaining any form of resignation,” he stated.
Dr Lanre Balogun, an inductee and a graduate of the National University of Ireland, said that he intend to practice medicine in Nigeria and would specialise in the field of cardiology.
Dr Ogbe Oritsegbubemi, commended the efforts made by the MDCN saying that the examination and induction process was seamless.
Oritsegbubemi said that after the period of residency, she will specialise in paediatrics due to her love for children. (NAN)
By Abujah Racheal
The National Assembly has appealed to National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to embrace every opportunity presented on the way forward toward addressing their grievances so as to return to the hospitals as quickly as possible.
The lawmakers said on Monday in Abuja that the striking doctors should embrace all overtures toward industrial harmony as the rollout of phase two of coronavirus vaccination programme could not be effectively achieved without them.
Their position was presented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe.
He spoke at the official flag off of the rollout of vaccines involving the 4,000,080 Moderna vaccines doses donated by the United States of America.
Also rolled out was the 177,600 Johnson and Johnson vaccines doses, a single-shot vaccine under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).
“As we speak today, we have some sections of health workers who are not working. For ethical delivery of vaccines, we need health workers.
“Human resource is a huge challenge in our country. I want to call on our colleagues, who are on strike, to please avail themselves of all opportunities of negotiations that government has given.
“The resources they’re asking for have already been provided and are being processed, so I want to ask the resident doctors to please go back to work.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that the National Assembly is working collaboratively with the executive arm and other stakeholders to resolve these human resource challenges in Nigeria.
“It is a huge issue because if you have the money, if you have the materials, we need men to get healthcare delivered, and we assure Nigerians that we shall handle this.”
He also reiterated that the 9th National Assembly had been working together with the executive arm to ensure Nigeria produced vaccines locally since 2020.
He said that resources had been allocated to commence the process, adding that it was for such reason that the sum of N10 billion was allocated in the 2020 budget.
In a remark, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustpha, commended the health workers for their sacrifices toward tackling the pandemic.
According to him, Nigeria’s effective response to COVID-19 has been rated fourth in the world by the Global Normalcy Index.
“We remain eternally grateful to your services and I will lean my voice to the senator when he called on resident doctors to respond to every invitation of negotiation and discussions so that we can bring to an end the current strike action.”
Mustapha commended the leadership of the National Assembly for the support received by the then Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and now the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), in crafting the COVID-19 response and its execution.
He also commended development partners for the solid support and confidence they exhibited to PTF, and now PSC, and in convincing their nations and agencies to grant Nigeria maximum support in its activities as it approached a virus that was novel to the entire world.
The SGF also commended the press for demonstrating patriotism and engaging in the response as they have never done before.
“The press has toiled day and might; you have been on the frontline, committed yourselves and some of you have made the supreme sacrifice,” he noted.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, enjoined Nigerians to embrace vaccination, assuring all that it was very safe.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Dr Haruna Mshelia, said: “This is the time for everyone to fully rally around the government. The vaccines being introduced in Nigeria are very safe and effective.”
He commended the executive arm for what they have done as regards the nation’s COVID-19 response which had been recognized globally.
He, however said that “if we are to move forward, and to keep this kind of intervention sustainable, Nigeria must begin to manufacture vaccines.
“The way forward is to start manufacturing vaccines so that we too can start donating vaccines to poorer countries like America has done,” he said. (NAN)
By Abujah Racheal
Dr Olumide Okunola, Senior Health Specialist at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, has said that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was not achievable in any country without public finance.
Okunola stated this on Day Two of the Fourth Annual Legislative Summit on Health themed: ”Universal Health Coverage and Health Security: Two sides of a coin for an efficient health system”, on Monday, in Abuja.
The summit, holding from May 23 to 25, 2021, was convened by the National Assembly with support from partners.
Okunola noted that the National Assembly was responsible for the appropriation of public finance, and without the legislatures UHC cannot be achieved in the country.
He called on Nigeria to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and prioritize the issues around public health financing and institutional structures.
“I saw a draft Bill for Bayelsa State Center for Disease Control is very commendable.
“We must set up institutional structures to combat pandemics. COVID-19 will not be the last, we need to prevent future epidemic in Nigeria,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombos, also noted that COVID-19 had revealed the fractures in the health system and had provided an opportunity for countries to take charge and build functional health infrastructure systems.
Dr. Njide Ndili, Country Director, PharmAccess Nigeria, added that without government commitment to funding, achieving UHC by 2030 would be impossible.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, has stated that the purpose of the summit was to review the state of Nigeria’s health system in the light of emerging pandemics like the COVID-19, and to strengthen the nation’s health security.
Oloriegbe, who noted that UHC and Health Security were interrelated, said: “We have to ensure that all health needs of people are met with sufficient quality without leading to financial hardship”.
NAN recalls that the overall objective of setting up the Legislative Network on Health was to effectively leverage statutory functions of the Legislature in Nigeria for improved health financing, through effective and efficient utilization of the resources for UHC.
The Summit has been identified as one of the tools used by the legislators to collectively strategise on how to achieve these objectives. Every year, since the first Summit was convened in July 2017 (except 2020 because of COVID-19), Legislators had gathered with this singular purpose in mind.
It seeks to discuss, analyse health situations in the country, make decisions and take a stand on the way forward to solve whatever challenges each State may face, within their respective contexts.
What ensures success and nationwide reach is the fact that the discussions include all states of the federation, and the summit clearly identifies the role every stakeholder needs to play and leverages these to achieve identified objectives.
A major output of these meetings is a strategic framework called the Legislative Health Agenda, an actionable work-plan developed by each State to address existing challenges in respective health sectors by applying their statutory functions of Legislatures, that include Appropriation, Oversight and Representation.(NAN)
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, says the senate has passed a bill that will make health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians.
Oloriegbe disclosed this at the inauguration of Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) on Thursday in Abuja.
“We have passed it in the Senate. Two Committees on health from Senate and the House of Representatives worked on the bill, so the bill is before the House of Representatives just for concurrence.
“Also, the National Assembly has passed the National Health Insurance Authority Act. It will not be National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) again, it will be National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) . A scheme in NHI(S) means only one scheme. That is what has been happening.
“The NHIA will be authority that will cover all schemes and everything will be brought together. The most important aspect of it is to make health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians,’’ he said.
The chairman said the e-NHIS framework had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and would soon be deployed.
He explained that the National Assembly had been supporting NHIS by appropriating the needed funds for its implementation.
“Without funds for it, it cannot work, when we considered the NHIS 2020 budget, we fully made provision for achievement of the e-NHIS; N1.5 billion was provided for that,’’ he said.
In addition, Oloriegbe said the senate had been working with the Federal Ministry of Health to improve health coverage by giving the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) effective implementation.
“We have reviewed the manual for BHCPF in collaboration with stakeholders to make the fund more beneficial to Nigerians.
“Also, the inauguration of GIFSHIP is important to us. What we are doing today is very critical to the attainment of the objectives of GIFSHIP because we represent people.
“What we will be doing as representatives of health sector in the national assembly is to advocate and ensure that all our colleagues register their constituencies, support and pay for their constituencies.
“We will start, all of us in leadership of five health committees in the national assembly will register our constituencies,” he said.
In his remarks, Dr Niyi Oginni, the Chairman, Forum of CEOs, State Health Insurance Agencies in Nigeria, said the states had been restructured to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“For many years, Nigeria has struggled to achieve UHC and this necessitated the establishment of state health insurance agencies.
“The agencies have a comprehensive health insurance package including GIFSHIP,’’ he said.
Oginni said one of the challenges of the scheme was the electronic aspect of it, seeking for collaboration with NHIS to upgrade its operations electronically.
He, however, expressed worry over the news of a state that had announced to cut the salary of its workers by 50 per cent, saying “it will affect contributions to the health scheme.’’
Also speaking, Dr Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, President, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria (HCPAN) expressed readiness to partner with NHIS to achieve the objectives of the GIFSHIP.
Arigbabuwo, commended the NHIS for introducing landmark programmes, especially health insurance under one roof.
“We will continue to do our best to provide services for Nigerians to access health facilities,’’ he said.
Similarly, Dr Leke Osunniyi, Chairman of Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN) commended NHIS on the inauguration of GIFSHIP, saying “we are happy that our suggestions were captured in the programme.
“We are optimistic that the programme will contribute to the growth of health insurance in the country,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that highlight of the event was the formal inauguration of GIFSHIP and symbolic registration by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko
Some stakeholders in mental health have called for proactive measures to be put in place to prevent incidences of suicide in Nigeria post COVID-19.
They made the call at an Annual National E-conference organised by the Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN) held via Zoom on Saturday in Lagos.
Theme of the conference was: “Together Toward Collaborative Resilience: Building Resilience Post COVID-19.”
It was held in commemoration of the World Suicide Day, marked annually on Sept. 10.
Commenting, Prof. Andrew Zamani of Clinical Psychology, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, said that collective resilience in preventing mental disorders, which could lead to suicide, largely depends on leadership.
Zamani said the leadership must be the one that has integrity, inclined toward social inclusiveness, equity and fairness.
“Leadership must be accountable and encourages broad based participation; unlimited capacity to protect lives and property.
“Also, it is one that connects with people through strategic communication,” he said.
Also, Dr Ayodele Coker, a Consultant Psychiatrist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, said the universal prevention of suicide would require reducing stress in the community.
According to him, this will require interventions that are designed to reducing the risk of developing mental health issues.
“Increase public health awareness, education, advocacy through electronic, print and social media and to also stay connected with loved ones through telephone calls.
“Also, adopting lifestyle choices including good sleep, diet and physical exercises, ” Coker said.
Contributing, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said that the Mental Health Bill was currently on its course to final passage.
Oloriegbe said: “Within 2019, the Bill had its first and second reading at the Senate and there was a joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee consideration for clause by clause provisions of the Bill.
“It is highly hopeful that we shall be presenting a report to the Senate on its resumption later this September for the final passage.”
In his remarks, the National Coordinator, SURPIN, Dr Raphael Ogbolu, said suicide was not uncommon in Nigeria.
“We had a total of 264 calls of which 149 were from people in crisis; the avarage age of the callers was 30 years; the youngest caller was 12 years old and the oldest was 71 years old.
“About 70 per cent of them was having thoughts of suicide and the commonest method being planned was through poisoning,” he said.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye