Health Sector Dieing As Politicians Squander N664B Yearly On Medical Tourism – AMLSN

Health Sector Dieing As Politicians Squander N664B Yearly On Medical Tourism – AMLSN

By INIOBONG SUNDAY, UYO

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, rose from its 206th National Executive Council, NEC, meeting, which ended in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital at the weekend, warning of imminent total collapse of the health sector in the country, noting that the system has been completely weighed down by gross neglect due to acute underfunding by the Federal Government.

The communique at the end of the two-day meeting, noted with dismay, the deliberate flouting of the Abuja 2001 African Union, AU, declaration by African Head of States and governments on the need to devote huge cash to revamp and equip the sector with adequate personnel and infrastructure to curb drains of expertise in the sector for greener pastures abroad.

Prof. James Damen, the National President, who read the communique, expressed worry that “Nigeria spends an estimated N664 Billion yearly on medical tourism.”

He said: “We are dismayed by the continuous underfunding of the health sector in Nigeria as reflected in paltry budgetary allocation spanning about two decades now. Nigeria’s health budget has continued to fall short of the Abuja declaration by AU, that African Head of States, who are member nations were to forthwith, commit 15 percent of their annual budgets to fund the health sector.”

But regretted that “Nigeria has continued to falter with health budgets oscillating between five and eight percent of the total budget, leading to deficit in infrastructure, training and technological innovations as well as assimilation in the system.”

Besides, AMLSN NEC urged governments at all levels to pay more than a passing interest to some public health emergencies, non-communicable diseases, cancer awareness, procurement of laboratories, mental and dental infrastructure, noting that “the recently reported cases of Lassa fever at Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo state, is a sad reminder that we are not yet out of the woods.”

Also hampering the drive towards rescuing the health system, the Council noted, is the continuing delay by the National Assembly in the passage of the Bill for an Act to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution Board etc) Act Cap U15 LFN, 2004, sponsored by one Hon. Bamidele Salami, explaining that, “when passed, it will address all discriminatory practices, tendencies, promote inclusiveness and help Nigeria’s healthcare delivery thrive positively.”

“It will benefit the average Nigerian patients instead of a professional group, improve the poor infrastructure that currently define our tertiary hospitals, mitigate improve skilled manpower shortage caused by brain drain and enhance more participation, as more professionals will have a better environment to train and practice.” The communique stressed.

Towards greater efficiency, the Council charged the National Universities Commission, NUC, to review the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Scientists, B.MLS’s, curriculum, pointing out that “the gabs and errors identified in the B.MLS curriculum are so pronounced that the 30 percent window cannot address.”

“The curriculum must be robust enough to reflect the dynamism in medical laboratory practice and evolution within the medical laboratory diagnostic system, so that our graduates can remain globally marketable”, the communique said and enjoined eligible voters to elect credible and patriotic leaders as Nigeria set for polls from February 25.


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