21 January 2013

Nigeria: 1999 Constitution Relegated Healthcare Delivery in the Country - Mark

Senate President David Mark on Monday in Asaba decried what he described as low attention given to healthcare delivery in the country by the 1999 Constitution.

Mark, at the opening of the 1st National Health Summit by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said the situation was unacceptable, as the Constitution was unfair to Nigerians with the place it gave to healthcare.

He, however, said that the wrong would be corrected in the ongoing review of the Constitution by the National Assembly and urged the NMA to be part of the process.

The senate president said he was aware that the association was excluded at previous public sessions of the Constitution review committee, but gave the assurance that he would ensure the inclusion of the body in subsequent sittings of the committee.

He also admitted that the Federal Government's input in the national health care system had remained inadequate and said that the anomaly would be addressed.

The Senate president said that there were many bills on health matters pending at the National Assembly and stated that one of them, the National Health Bill, would receive accelerated attention for passage.

"We will work assiduously to pass the bill, which is aimed at providing a framework for the regulation, development and management of national healthcare centres to render effective health services to the nation," he said.

He deplored cases of rancor among health workers in the country, describing it as "embarrassing".

Mark sued for tolerance and camaraderie among them, rather than allowing the issues to fester and getting third parties to intervene.

He reminded medical doctors of the mission statement of their profession and their individual oaths at induction and urged them not to deviate from it.

The Senate President charged participants at the summit to come up with recommendations that would stimulate the promulgation of new policies for the health sector.

He assured the association of his collaboration with it at all times, and commended it for its contributions in ameliorating the sufferings of victims of the recent flood incident around the country.

In an address the President of NMA, Dr Osahon Enabulele, said the summit was to afford medical doctors the opportunity of brainstorming on how to rebuild the nation's health sector instead of lamenting over its inadequacies.

He said that the association was committed to making the summit a platform for the development of the sector in order to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the medical profession.

Enabulele urged all Nigerians to show commitment in fixing the health sector, adding that unless that was done, the nation's vision 20-20-20 would be a mirage.

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