The Federal Government on Thursday said that the country had been losing about $2bn annually due to loss of confidence in its health care system.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, represented by the Chief Medical Director of Jos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Edmund Banwat, made this disclosure during the 54th Annual Scientific Conference and workshop of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) held in Jos, capital of Plateau State, with the theme; “Local vaccine formulation and production in Nigeria: Challenges, threats and opportunities”.
The government also expressed concern over what it described as lack of teamwork in the health sector workplace, which is the leading cause of rivalry between medical doctors, pharmacists and other allied workers.
At the event, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, said the Federal Government had directed chief executives to fully implement all approved schemes of service and circulars affecting the career progression and conditions of service of medical laboratory scientists and their establishments.
The HoS, represented by the Director (Special Services) in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, James Olusoji, said “The directive was given in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice in the treatment of all staff in the public service of the federation in line with the intent of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I urge you to always engage in dialogue in the resolution of issues with the management of your various workplaces, as incessant strikes in the public sector are counterproductive, especially in the health sector.
“There is a need for all health care professionals, such as medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses and researchers, to work in harmony with trust and due respect for each others’ expertise in promoting the health of the patients seeking their services.”
Banwat said that one of the key goals of the Muhammadu Buhari administration had always been to invest in the health of the people as a fundamental human right that should be enjoyed by every Nigerian.
He said, “Nigeria has over the past decades fallen behind the rest of the world in many areas of human and social endeavour, be it infrastructural development, energy and transportation development, food production, quality of education, and healthcare delivery.
“With regard to the health sector, Nigeria suffered foreign exchange drain of about $2bn yearly due to loss of confidence in the health sector system.
“Among many manufacturing facilities that also became moribund during past administrations was a government-owned yellow fever vaccine production laboratory in Yaba, Lagos.”
In his address to the gathering, the National President of AMLSN, Dr. Bassey Enya Bassey, called on the Federal Government to properly regulate the nation’s health care practices to check quackery and unethical practices.
He said, “The need for proper regulation of healthcare practices in any country cannot be overemphasised, as an unregistered system will breed quackery and unwholesome practices that will adversely compromise healthcare delivery.
“On this note, we appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of public importance, reconstitute the Boards of Medical Laboratory Services Council of Nigeria and other health regulatory bodies so as to guarantee top quality and regulated health services in the country.”