Chairman of the Nigeria Governors ‘Forum (NGF) Dr. Kayode Fayemi has urged striking resident doctors to review their approach to expressing grievances because strike does not appear to be the best option. “I would like to touch briefly on the ongoing strike by the NARD (National Association of Resident Doctors). Whilst the issues raised are relevant, the effectiveness of strikes as a tool for negotiation is up for debate.
“As doctors, our approach to labor and other work-related issues must focus on compelling and irrefutable arguments that provide opportunities to gain friends/sympathies across several industries,” Fayemi said.
The Ekiti State governor, while addressing the centenary celebration of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMN), admitted that the nation’s health sector was troubled, but suggested ways to address the challenges.
According to the secretariat of the NGF, which made Fayemi’s address available yesterday in Abuja, the Ekiti Governor was represented by Health Commissioner, Olabanji Filani.
Fayemi noted the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s economy and health system, was of the view that “while we mitigate the immediate consequences of the pandemic, we must also focus on building back our economy and health system for tomorrow — an economy and health system which is resilient to global health crises and economic shocks.
“By prioritizing recovery plans that tackle multiple challenges, Nigeria can recover in a way that is more inclusive, sustainable and resilient.”
On how to overcome the challenges in the nation’s health sector, Fayemi, who drew references from his state’s efforts, advocated increase investment in health security; investment in the capacity of health workers, and health financing for resilient and sustainable health performance.
He said: “Neither individual governments nor the global development community can entirely prevent the emergence of diseases.
“However, we can be better prepared by strengthening our health system through investment in health security and Universal Health Coverage. Investing in health security through financing epidemic preparedness is a smart and cost-effective way to protect lives and safeguard the economy with a significant return on investment.
“In addition, the resources and infrastructure required for pandemic preparedness also facilitate efforts to fight endemic diseases.
“Investing in health security not only saves lives but is also a vital investment in the wider economy. In Ekiti State, for instance, we have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen our public health security.
“We have decentralized testing to 145 testing centers, the highest in the country, and improved our disease surveillance capacity to pick up early signals of possible outbreaks.
“There is a need to address challenges in human resources for health. Challenges in training, and continuous professional development among others should be prioritized and addressed. The quality of our health workers reflects on the quality of our health system.
“It is, therefore, pivotal to invest in continuous capacity improvement for health workers. Providing the needed equipment in healthcare facilities is extremely important as health workers cannot function optimally with limited tools.
By Eric Ikhilae,