The Nigerian Medical Association in Ekiti State has lamented that healthcare financing in the state is at suboptimal level hence the multifaceted problems facing the sector in terms of personnel and infrastructure.

The NMA expressed support for the about four-weeks old industrial action of members of Association of Resident Doctors in Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital over payment of fragmented (net) salaries in the last three years and threatened to embark on solidarity strike across the state with ARD.

The doctors made these known in a communiqué at the end of their 2021 Annual General Meeting with the theme ’Health care financing at subnational level: Exploring feasible innovative opportunities’ and subthemes ‘Universal health coverage for Ekiti Citizens: Health Insurance Scheme a catalyst, and Ekiti State Health Insurance Scheme: The Journey So Far.’

The NMA, in the communiqué signed by its state Chairman, Dr Kayode Ariyibi and Assistant Secretary 1, Dr Chibueze Alwell, urged present administration in Ekiti State to continually “increase health care funding in the State from the present eight per cent to a value that will be satisfactory”.

The doctors expressed sadness that health insurance, which they described as one of the most viable ways to achieve Universal Health Coverage for Ekiti residents, had limited coverage at present in the State, urging that SHIS should be widened to cater for more citizens.

They advised, “SHIS should include and cater for all residents of Ekiti State and to also synergize with the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme in the state by involving community-based and informal sectors health insurance in the State”.

NMA, which expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of modern infrastructures in state-owned health institutions and hospitals in the past as a result of prolonged neglect by the previous governments, appreciated and advised that “the present government should continue as a matter of urgency to address the infrastructural decay in state-owned health institutions”.

While lamenting “the shortage of doctors and other healthcare workers at the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare levels due to brain drain,” the NMA urged the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency to, as a matter of urgency, allow doctors “to do their normal work as it obtains in other states of the federation”.

NMA also bemoaned “the payment of percentage of full salaries and non-payment of COVID–19 allowance to its members in National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners and Association of Medical Officers of Health of Nigeria.

It also observed the state government’s “persisting inability to pay full salaries, emoluments and COVID-19 allowance to our members (resident doctors and consultants) in EKSUTH, despite the regular hard works being offered to the populace by the members” and as well payment of percentage of full salaries and non-payment of COVID–19 allowance to doctors in NAGGMDP and AMOHN.

PUNCH