NLC president: Politicians stealing billions, hurting healthcare delivery

Comrade Wabba ( centre) representatives of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), led by its president, Dr. Iyke Odo at NLC secretariat in Abuja.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba has decried the adverse effects of corruption in the healthcare sector as exposed during the outbreak and management of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Comrade Wabba made these observations in Abuja, on Thursday when he received representatives of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), led by its president, Dr. Iyke Odo at the NLC secretariat in Abuja.

The AGPMPN team were on a visit to intimate the NLC leadership of the association’s centenary anniversary celebration coming up in August in Abuja.

Wabba told the medical practitioners that the NLC is not just concerned about fighting for workers’ welfare, but is also interested in fights for quality healthcare for the generality of the people.

But he lamented that corruption is hindering healthcare delivery in Nigeria as funds are not always available for useful interventions in the sector.

He noted that the Health Insurance Scheme (NHS), that should have been of great help in healthcare delivery system has remained an ugly tale as not much has happened with the scheme in Nigeria.

He disclosed that the NLC was in the forefront of advocacy for NHIS under the tenure of the former governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as NLC President, but regretted that the scheme was yet to meet the expectations of the people, since it was launched.

He said the manner the NHIS has evolved has again showed that the bane of Nigeria’s problem was not making of policies, but delivering and making them achieve the intended purposes.

“Government policies in Nigeria are not coherent, that is one of the reasons for our fight. Politicians now steal in billions, making one to question the fight against corruption. Is there fight against corruption in Nigeria? Stealing is more today than ever. Government policies require discipline and prudence by their administrators for them to be successful.

Dr. Odo had earlier in his speech told the NLC president that for investors in healthcare sector such as members of his association, Nigeria’s economic terrain remains “rough, slippery and dark and it has taken a dogged, determined and informed labour leadership to have weathered the tempestuous storms of our system.”

According to him, AGPMPN “remains the greatest partners of government at all levels in promoting and providing healthcare to Nigerians. We provide over 70% of the healthcare needs of our people and provide the equivalent percentage in the manpower needs and infrastructure in the health sector.

“We have done this much and continue to do so in a consistent manner despite the grave odds that stare every investor in our country in the face, especially investing in the very delicate and intensely demanding venture of healthcare services.”

Dr. Odo described private doctors as “the gateway to Nigeria’s healthcare journey, the frontline doctors in the land. We are the most available and the most accessible doctors in the country and we have shouldered the healthcare burden of Nigerians in the larger dimension for our healthcare system to be standing today.”

He disclosed that AGPMPN “is 100 years this year, having been founded in 1921. We are the oldest medical association in Nigeria, even older than Nigeria. This is significant and it is historic. We desire to dedicate the marking of this great milestone to standing by the Nigerian government as it strives towards giving Nigerians the quality healthcare they truly deserve, private sector partnership.

“We plan to host a health dialogue that would articulate a blue print on the private sector perspective on health to reinforce the position of the NMA and other stakeholders on the policy thrust of our healthcare delivery system.”

The NLC president promised that NLC would give the centenary programme every necessary support.

“Labour and Doctors must put heads together, to make the health sector work. In many parts of the world, there exists synergy between Private Doctors and Governments. That is how it should be in Nigeria,” Wabba said.

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