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Medical Practitioners Urge State Governments: Implement Health Insurance Scheme Locally to Alleviate Hardship

 

In a resounding call, the National Association of Medical and Dental Practitioners in Government General (NAGGMDP) has called upon the 36 governors across the nation to adopt and implement the Health Insurance Scheme within their individual states. This proactive step, according to the association, would significantly alleviate the burdensome challenges currently linked with the scheme. Additionally, the association implored the federal government to reconsider the policy mandating Directors on grade level 17 to retire after serving eight years in that grade.

Addressing journalists following the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Sofiri Peterside JNR, the National President of the association, voiced these concerns. Peterside emphasized that localizing the health insurance scheme across all 36 states would not only alleviate the current hardships exacerbated by the prevailing economic and socio-economic conditions in Nigeria, but also fortify healthcare provisions for the vulnerable populace.

Peterside expressed deep concern over instances where patients are unable to afford their medical bills, leaving them no recourse but to rely on NAGGMDP to cover their costs and provide treatment. This untenable situation, he stressed, places undue strain on the association and is detrimental to the healthcare system at large.

Highlighting a pressing issue, Peterside lamented the phenomenon of brain drain within the health sector, a crisis spurred by better pay and improved working conditions in foreign countries. He cited the career trajectory of medical doctors in government service, explaining that the forced retirement of doctors at grade level 17 after eight years of service would result in an early retirement age of around 50 or 52. This, he contended, compels skilled medical professionals to seek opportunities abroad, where they can continue working beyond the age of 60.

The NAGGMDP President attributed the exodus of medical personnel to other developed nations to inadequate welfare packages, unfavorable government policies, lack of personnel security, and subpar medical facilities, among other factors.

Peterside JNR also issued a call for the augmentation of hazard allowances for doctors, advocated for duty allowances, and pushed for the enhancement of medical facilities to curtail medical tourism. Adding to his plea, he underscored the urgent need for all tiers of government to swiftly implement a new minimum wage to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal initiated by President Bola Tinubu.

Thomas Gonji, the Nasarawa State Chairman of NAGGMDP, commended the three-day NEC meeting for facilitating the exchange of experiences and brainstorming sessions that hold the potential to propel the health sector forward. He expressed gratitude to the delegates for choosing Nasarawa State as the host and extended his best wishes for their safe journeys back to their respective states.

The echoes of this association’s call for localized health insurance implementation resonate not only through the hallowed halls of government but also across the medical landscape, as medical practitioners fervently advocate for a more resilient healthcare system for Nigeria.

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