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Bill to Prevent Doctors From Travelling Abroad Informed by Heath Sector Crisis – Lawmaker

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 Rep. Abdulganiyu Johnson (APC-Lagos) says his bill that seeks to bar Nigeria-trained medical doctors and dentists from travelling abroad to practice unless they have put in a minimum of five years in Nigeria is informed by the crisis in the nation’s health sector.

The lawmaker, who sponsored the bill, told newsmen in Abuja on Thursday while making clarifications on the raison d’etre of the bill against the backdrop of the controversy it has generated.

Report says that the bill seeking to mandate Nigeria-trained medical and dental practitioners to practise for a minimum of five years in the country before being granted full licence passed the second reading in the House of Representatives on April 6.

Johnson, however, said the bill was not meant to prevent anyone from travelling abroad as being speculated, pointing out that it was meant to forestall the looming crisis in the health sector.

According to him, this is not an attempt to trample on their human rights. We have crisis in the health sector and I am just providing a solution.

“Our population is more than 200million and the number of medical doctors we have is about 10,000.  If care is not taken may be herbalists will have to take over and be treating our people.

“We have crisis already and how do we mitigate it?  Let us increase the number of years they (doctors) will get their licenses and this is not to stop them from travelling abroad.

“The five years include their national service and housemanship period, which amounts to three years and it is a way of promoting professionalism. You can register for your residency and engage in hospital services.

“By the time they complete the three years they would have completed their residency, it will be a win-win for the country and the medical doctors,” he said.

Johnson said that with the residency training, the doctors would become specialists, pointing out it would be a way of promoting the nation’s medical doctors to be specialists instead of just being general practitioners.

He said UK decision to place Nigeria medical personnel on red alert from coming to their country was a pointer to his bill.

According to him, we have crisis and if the UK said we cannot continue to deplete their medical doctors that shows they are in support of my position.

To the lawmaker, the medical doctors were only looking at the bill from their own point of view but not holistically and not also looking at the nation to see the challenges it was facing.

Johnson, however, said there was room for debate during public hearing to lay all issues on the table, adding that those agitating that the bill should be limited to public schools medical and dental graduates did not understand the issues at stake.

According to him, when it comes to licensing a professional, the school he attended does not matter.

He said the institutions were to train and guide medical doctors, adding that they would all come together when they would be writing their professional examinations.

The lawmaker said the bill also involved welfare and improving their working conditions, adding that by the time the country upgraded its medical facilities, “no one will be going abroad for medical treatment”.  (NAN)

Health

World Health Day: FG Reiterates its Commitment to Strengthening PHC

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, has reiterated the commitment of the Federal government, through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, (BHCPF), I strengthening primary healthcare delivery system.As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 2024 World Health Day,Professor Pate, who stated this in a speech to commemorate the 2024 World Health Day, also noted that through the BHCPF and the Nigeria Health Sector Renewal and Investment Initiative and strategic partnerships, the government is also reaching remote and underserved communities, providing essential healthcare services and promoting health education.

He added that the FG is also committed to improving infrastructure to ensure the availability of essential drugs and commodities in health facilities across the country.In a statement signed by the Director of information in the ministry, Patricia Deworitshe, the minister maintained that the Primary healthcare remains the centre of the federal government focus, adding that the administration is determined more than ever before to ensure the delivery of quality, efficient and affordable health care through the Primary Health Care facilities.He stated that while the government continues to invest in improving healthcare infrastructure and services, the responsibility for health ultimately rests with each individual.Professor Pate said Nigerians must take proactive steps to safeguard our health and well-being by adopting healthy lifestyles, prioritizing preventive healthcare measures, and seeking timely medical attention when necessary, adding that it is only through collective action and mutual support that we can achieve the vision of a healthier Nigeria for all.He also reaffirms the ministry’s unwavering commitment to advancing the health and well-being of all Nigerians, noting that the right to health is not just a lofty ideal, but a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.The minister, however, recognizes that there is still much work to be done, noting that challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, healthcare worker shortages, and persistent health disparities continue to impact the health and well-being of our citizens.He reiterated that the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare remains committed to strengthening our healthcare systems, improving health outcomes, and ensuring that no one is left behind.Pate noted that the theme for this year’s celebration, which is, “My Health, My Right,” underscores the fundamental principle that every individual has the right to attain the highest standard of physical and mental health without discrimination or barriers.

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Suicide: Psychiatrist Advocates Increased Mental Health Awareness

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Dr Veronica Nyamali, a psychiatrist with the Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Yaba, Lagos,  has advocated increased awareness on mental health as antidote to rising cases of suicide in Nigeria.

Nyamali, the immediate past Vice-President, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), made the recommendation in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.

According to her, there is still high level of ignorance about mental health especially at the grassroots.

“Lack of adequate knowledge on when or where to seek quality mental healthcare is still an issue.”

Nyamali said that suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and the entire society with long lasting effects on the people left behind.

“Mental health condition is a major risk factor for suicide.

“The mental health status of a person is critical to living, as it is a major determinant of choices on how one relates with others.

“It also determines how people handle stress, depression and challenges in life,” she said.

She said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that more than 800,000 people die annually by suicide in the world, with Nigeria ranking among the top 10 countries in Africa.

She added that the Global Health Observatory Data Repository also estimated that 9.5 suicides per 100,000 occur in Nigeria.

The psychiatrist, who emphasised the need for more advocacy, awareness and education campaigns, said if the public are well informed, the rate of suicide will drop.

She called for increased public enlightenment on mental health, depression and how to recognise and deal with it to avoid suicide ideas and other negative choices.

Nyamali explained that campaigns for suicide prevention should emphasise help seeking, reduction in stigma, encourage positive behaviourial change, and availability of resources for treatments among others.

“Depression is a common and serious mental health challenge that affects the way one thinks, feels and acts.

“The more people are aware of their mental health issues, the more they will be able to utilise mental health skills and prevent suicide as well as handle depression,” she said.

She stressed the need for the public, particularly parents and schools, to monitor and recognise early signs when someone is struggling with mental health issues and support such a person faster.(NAN)

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WHO says 4.5b People not Fully Covered by Essential Health Services 

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that at least 4.5 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, are not fully covered by essential health services.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said this on Wednesday during an online media conference on global health issues.

Ghebreyesus said that two billion people face financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health spending.

“Outbreaks, disasters, conflict and climate change are all causing death and disability, hunger and psychological distress.

“Realising the right to health means passing and implementing laws to ensure that people can access the health services they need, where and when they need them, without financial hardship,” he said.

According to him, as of date, at least 140 countries recognise the right to health in their own constitutions. And yet, around the world, that right is often unrealised or under threat.

The WHO Chief said that there was the need to address the reasons people get sick and die.

“It means the people should get safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing and decent working and environmental conditions.

“And they also require freedom from discrimination,” he said.

Ghebreyesus said that 76 years since the founding of the organisation, WHO remained totally committed to the highest attainable standard of health, as a fundamental right for all people, everywhere.

According to him, April 7 marks World Health Day, the 76th anniversary of the constitution of the organisation coming into force.

He said that this year’s theme is ‘My health, my right’, reaffirming what WHO has affirmed since its birth on the 7th of April, 1948, that health was a right for all people, not a luxury.

“In fact, the WHO constitution was the first instrument of international law to affirm that the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of all people, without distinction,” Ghebreyesus said.

He called on all citizens to demand for their health as a matter of their right.(NAN)

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