The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on government at all levels to give more attention to the health sector, describing the sector as ''a unique area that requires greater attention regardless the system of government in place.''
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt, Rivers, on Thursday, the Chairman of the Rivers chapter of the association, Dr. Kingsley Enweremadu, said the public had an important role to play in attaining an effective healthcare system.
“When they came into office, it is the expectation of the people that the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria should be better than it was when the military was there.
“But when we look at the situation as it is, we cannot generalise this statement because some states are doing very well, others are doing well and some others are not happy with the health system.
“So there is no hard and fast rule about the benefit of democracy to the health system.”
Enweremadu said the health sector thrived more in a democratic setting than in a military era.
He said the government had tried to transform the health sector starting from the primary, secondary to tertiary health sector.
He said: “In the primary healthcare area, the governor has built over 200 primary health centres in different parts of the state to ensure efficient and effective healthcare delivery system to the masses in the rural area.
“When you come to the secondary health sector, for the first time in the history of this particular state, there are a specialist hospital and the secondary health management board.
“Some general hospitals in three senatorial zones of the state are receiving upgrade and for you to retain the doctors, you should think of remuneration.
“Abia state is one of the states where CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure) is being paid 100 per cent in the secondary healthcare sub-sector and doctors in those areas are not complaining about salaries or remuneration.”
He said most equipment required for the effective delivery of healthcare services in the state were not in place but efforts were being made to ensure that they were provided.
The chairman said already the state government had opened two ultra-modern diagnostic centres in Aba and Umuahia.
He said the centres were equipped with state of the art diagnostic equipment to meet the health needs of the people of the state.
“That is why he’s been investing so heavily in those areas. We have the Abia State University Teaching Hospital; he has appointed capable men and women into the board of that particular hospital and the area is receiving massive transformation.
“So if we can say that for Abia state based on what I have said now, I would say that democracy has benefitted the health sector more than what we had before the advent of democracy.”