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Proposed Bill on Compulsory 5-year Service for Doctors Has Good Intention — Minister

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says the compulsory
five-year service for graduates in medical and dental fields before being granted full licence
proposed in a bill by the House of Representatives is with good intention.

He made his position known on Friday in an interview with the press in Abuja.

Report says that the title of the amendment bill, sponsored by Rep.

Ganiyu Johnson, reads: “A Bill for an
Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap.
M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“It is to mandate any Nigeria-trained Medical or Dental Practitioner to Practice in Nigeria for a minimum of
five years before being granted full licence by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

“It is to make quality health services available to Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB.2130).”

The bill passed for second reading  on April 6.

According to Ehanire, the intention is good because it is talking about curbing brain drain of doctors.

He said “if I can read the mind of Johnson properly, he wants to be able to keep those who have studied
here a bit longer for some time before they can be free to go.

“If you look at the fact that the fees we pay at our universities, definitely they do not make up for the cost
of training.

“If you want to know what it costs to train a doctor, go to a private university and know what they pay for school fees.

“That is a benchmark of what it costs but in our public universities, we don’t pay anything near that.

“So, actually, it means that it is subsidised with taxpayers money because if the government allows you to get training
for about one-tenth or one-twentieth of the cost of the private university, then it means it is subsidised.

“Therefore, I’m sure Ganiyu was thinking about those in that category who should also give back to the country,
having received classy education that is respected outside.

“This is because even the cost of training here is very small compared to school fees paid in foreign countries to
become a doctor. I think this is the angle the representative was looking at the issue from.”

Ehanire added that it may not necessarily have to be by law because the moral understanding is also
clear if one has received quality education and then gives back to the sponsor.

“So, I think maybe the same moral issue people have to look at is whether the bill goes through or not,
but this remains a moral issue”, he said.

Meanwhile, some Diaspora Medical Associations also added their voices to the issue.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, they said that the bill,
which purportedly seeks a way to address the adverse effects of brain drain, may not be the most effective
intervention to resolve the situation.

The letter was titled: “Re: A Position Statement From Diaspora Medical Associations- Bill Seeking to Restrict
Newly Qualified Medical Doctors and Dentists from Leaving Nigeria.”

The letter was signed by Dr Emeka Ugwu, the President, Nigerian Doctors’ Forum, South Africa, Dr Chinyere Anyaogu, the
President, Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, and Dr Chris Agbo, the President, Medical Association
of Nigerians Across Great Britain.


Dr Nnamdi Ndubuka, the President, Canadian Association of Nigerian
Physicians and Dentists and Dr Al Amin Dahiru, the President, Nigerian Medical Association-Germany, also signed the letter.

According to the letter, the bill will be counterproductive and will not achieve its intended goal.

It stated that “we recognise the problems posed by the exodus of Nigerian medical professionals from our health system,
including, but not limited to decreased access to healthcare services and lack of quality of care.

“Care delivery deserts the inability to adequately enact healthcare and public health policy due to lack of manpower and leadership resource.

“The medical or dental practitioner is the glue that keeps the team functional and the leading force for effective healthcare delivery system.”

The group also said that diaspora healthcare workers would be willing to return to Nigeria if an enabling environment
exists, reversing the trend and helping to solve the problem.

The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a Medical and Dental Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to make it compulsory for graduates in medical and dental fields to render services within Nigeria for five years before being granted full license.

Sponsor of the motion, Ganiyu Johnson (APC/Lagos) said the move was to check the mass exodus of medical professionals from the country.(NAN)

Health

No pending Lassa Fever Cases in kaduna—–Official

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Kaduna State Primary Health Development Agency, (KPHDA) says there is no pending cases of Lassa fever in the state.

Director of public health, Ibrahim Hamza-Ikara, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Kaduna, that the state has not recorded any Lassa fever cases for the past few weeks.

He added that all suspected cases have been discharged from the hospitals.

“We have not recorded any Lassa fever cases for the past few weeks and all the remaining eight patients have been discharged.

He said the state would  continue it’s sensitisation programme on how best to improve hygiene practices to residents.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls  that on February 23, the state recorded four deaths of Lassa fever and three on admission from the 44  Nigerian Army Reference hospital in the state.

Others infected were identified and being closely monitored.

He urged residents to maintain proper food and environmental hygiene and immediately report any suspected cases of Lassa fever to the nearest health facility for prompt attention. (NAN)

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Health

BNSG Signs MoU With Shanghai Haitian hospital, Sinoki System for Training Activities  

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From Attah Ede Makurdi 

The Benue State Government, on Monday , singed Memorandums of understandings (MOUs) with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital, to facilitate academic and clinical interchange between Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi.

The partnership  according to the MoU, is in the areas of joint studies, training activities, and other educational exchanges of mutual interest.

The government has also entered into partnership with Sinoki System Limited, for the establishment of a Hybrid Solar Panel Factory in Benue State.

Signing the two Memorandums of understandings (MOUs) at the Old Banquet Hall of the Benue State Government House, Makurdi on Monday, Governor Hyacinth Alia said he was excited and optimistic that the partnerships would open many more doors of investments in the State, adding that his administration is willing to welcome more investors into the state.

He described the partnership with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital as an exciting one, saying his administration is determined to improve the overall health sector in the state, thereby discouraging the trend of health tourism to other countries.

“I am quite excited because our administration’s focus is to improve the health sector in the state that will be capable of increasing the lifespan of our people. The Benue State University Teaching Hospital as a partner in this is going to benefit from this collaboration, and it is our hope to discourage our people going overseas on medical tourism. There is nothing wrong in translating the finances spent elsewhere into our system.

“The partnership with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital will open more doors, especially as we also have Tertiary healthcare systems here in the state. Where we inherited total collapse of the healthcare system, we need to put all machinery in place to ensure that beginning from the primary to our tertiary health institutions, there are improvements.”

On the partnership with Sinoki System Company for the establishment of a Hybrid Solar Panel Factory in Benue State, the governor described it as a quick fix to the epileptic power challenge faced in the state, explaining that for every business to thrive, there must be some stability in electricity and he is excited about the partnership.  

“The partnership is going to be a plus to the State. The business partnership will bring about the establishment of Hybrid Solar Panel Company in Benue State, through a Private Partnership agreement between the Benue State Government and Sinoki System Limited. We are excited about this because it will open more investment doors in the state.

“As I have mentioned at some other forums, we are a state that is open for business, and we are welcoming investors into our state to come and do business.

“The establishment of the Hybrid solar panel company in the state has come at a time when the electricity situation has been epileptic. But for business to thrive, we definitely need some stability of electricity. This is one quick fix to the anxiety and I am very excited about it,” the governor explained.

He called for more investors to take advantage of the many untapped investment opportunities in the state, promising that government on its part will continue to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.

Earlier in his address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on International Investment, Hon. Alex Adingi, while introducing the investors, said the investors have expressed their desire to partner with the state government in the two areas of health and energy for the overall good of the state, been the reason they have come to sign the partnership agreement.

A statement by chief press secretary to Governor Alia, sir Tersoo Kula said William Wang, a Director with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital, represented the Hospital while Liu Hai Ding, represented Sinoki System Limited.

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Health

Lassa Fever: NCDC Registers 1 Death, 15 New Cases in 1 Week

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has reported one death and confirmed 15 new cases of lassa fever within one week across the country.

The NCDC said this in a situation report for week 13 published on its website on Friday.

Reports says that lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and, in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The NCDC noted a decrease in the number of confirmed cases from 25 cases in week 12 to 15 cases in the reporting week, although the number of suspected cases increased compared to the same period in 2023.

Cumulatively, from week one to 13, the country recorded 806 confirmed cases and 150 deaths, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.6 per cent, higher than the CFR for the same period in 2023 (17.5 per cent).

“Twenty-five states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 125 local government areas in 2024.

“Sixty-two per cent of all confirmed cases were recorded from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi, with Ondo State accounting for 24 per cent, Edo 22 per cent, and Bauchi 16 per cent,” it said.

According to the report, no health worker was infected in the reporting week, and individuals between the ages of 31 and 40 were predominantly affected by the infection.

The NCDC said the National Lassa Fever Multi-partner, Multi-sectoral Incident Management System had been activated to coordinate response at all levels at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

The NCDC highlighted some challenges in the fight against lassa fever, including the late presentation of cases leading to increased CFR and poor health-seeking behaviour.

It attributed the latter to the high cost of treatment and clinical management of lassa fever, as well as poor environmental sanitation and awareness in high-burden communities. (NAN)

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