Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has appealed to medical doctors in Nigeria to consider national interest and patriotism above the desire to migrate overseas in search of green pastures.
The Governor told the doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) during their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Owerri on Thursday.
He reminded them that God created them for the purpose of saving lives and appealed to them not to gloss over that important role God assigned to them.
The theme of the Conference is: ‘’Healthcare System In A Depressed Economy,’’ was delivered by Dr. Anthony Mba, Consultant Physician/Pharmacologist, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
In his remarks, the governor urged the NMA leadership to consider national interest and patriotism to discourage their members from moving outside the country to practice, but rather remain in the country to help save the Nigerian citizens who depend wholly on them for healthcare and survival.
He said: “Consider the country’s current economic situation and partner with the Federal and State Governments to improve on the existing healthcare system instead of abandoning the country for other countries, noting that “the only country we can proudly call our own is Nigeria.”
The Governor congratulated the doctors for their choice of Imo State for their meeting and thanked the leadership for the medical outreach they carried out in the Nkwerre area of the State.
Governor Uzodimma reminded the doctors that by coming to Imo for their meeting, they have seen things for themselves, including the security situation, which has been largely given a wrong interpretation by political opponents to tarnish the image of the government.
He said: “Your going to Nkwerre for the programme and coming back safely is a pointer to the fact that peace has returned to Imo State and the insinuation that Imo State is the insecurity headquarters of the world is not true.”
He said the NMA has joined the list of high-profile meetings that had taken place in the past two years in Imo State and involving the Army, Police, Conference of Bishops, Accountants, Nigerian Guild of Editors, and others. “That these bodies successfully held their meetings in Imo without hitches shows that Imo is safe.
Governor Uzodimma said that his administration has made efforts, since inception, to give Imo citizens the best of healthcare first by increasing the health sector’s budgetary allocation from a paltry four percent to eight percent and hoping to move it to 16 percent in the subsequent budget as part of measures to improve health delivery.
He recalled that his government established a Free Mobile Health Clinic at inception in addition to the rehabilitation of the 305 Primary Healthcare Centres in the 305 Wards of the State because of the poor state of the health sector when he assumed office.
On the Secondary healthcare system, the Governor informed of the construction of three brand new General Hospital in the State, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and ready for commissioning, all meant to complement the excellent works of the Specialist Hospital at Umuguma in Owerri.
He also recalled efforts made by his administration in the return of accreditation to School of Nursing and Midwifery at Aboh Mbaise and Amaigbo as well as the recovery of Imo State Teaching Hospital Orlu which was in a comatose state when he assumed office in January 2020.
Governor Uzodimma used the opportunity to thank the Federal Government for the approval to make FMC, Owerri a Teaching Hospital, saying the development has led to Imo State having two Tertiary health institutions, “a partnership that will offer comprehensive healthcare to the citizens of Imo State.”
According to him the comprehensive and compulsory health insurance scheme which his government has initiated has started yielding results and solicited private partnership for it to work optimally.
He acknowledged that the doctors working in Nigeria may not be getting enough compared to their contemporaries outside the country, but he assured that, on his part, his government will continue to take their welfare seriously “because it is a work in progress.”
He commended the patriotism of the leadership of NMA at the State and National levels and the entire membership of the Nigerian Medical Association and promised that Imo State will continue to support them.
In his address, the national President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Uche Ojinmah, noted that contrary to what they heard and read on social media about insecurity, “Imo is safe.”
He called on his members “to persevere, work closer together and provide anchors for one another to weather through the raging storm of life ocean,” reminding his members of the Hippocratic oath they took.
He also urged his members to pray and work for the peace and prosperity of the nation.
Dr. Ojinmah commended the Governor for all he has achieved in the health sector in the State and enjoined him to do more, saying, “With little incentive, the services of doctors can be retained.”
He also thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for appointing seven medical doctors to the Federal Executive Council, saying it portrays doctors as men of trust.
The Imo State chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Chidi Obieshi, expressed gratitude to the Governor for hosting the NEC meeting and congratulated him on his landmark achievements in the health sector in the State.
He requested more welfare packages for his members, especially the implementation of their special salary structure.
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