From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has strongly opposed any attempt to introduce euthanasia into medical practice in Nigeria.

The association recognizes that euthanasia is a complex and sensitive topic with no clear global consensus, and its introduction in Nigeria would require careful consideration due to ethical, legal, religious, social, and cultural diversities.

This decision was unanimously taken at the NMA’s 64th Annual General Conference (AGC) and Delegates’ Meeting (DM) held in Calabar. The decision is outlined in a communique signed by NMA President Dr. Bala Audu and Secretary-General Dr. Benjamin Egbo.

Euthanasia, the act of ending someone’s life to alleviate suffering, is legal in some countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and some US states like Oregon and California. However, it remains a highly debated and controversial issue, with arguments focusing on the right to autonomy, the value of human life, and the potential for abuse or coercion.

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NMA President Dr. Audu emphasized that euthanasia remains illegal in Nigeria and punishable under Section 306 of the Criminal Code. He urged governments at all levels to prioritize the health and well-being of Nigerians by implementing robust palliatives and social intervention strategies to mitigate hunger and harsh economic conditions.

The NMA also expressed concern over the increasing number of apprehended quacks, leading to complications and even deaths for many Nigerians. They urged states to develop appropriate legal frameworks to combat quackery.

Additionally, the NMA expressed concern over the exodus of pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria due to perceived challenges in the business environment, primarily caused by the impact of naira devaluation and forex scarcity. This exodus has resulted in drug shortages, price increases, and job losses. The NMA appealed to the government to take urgent action to mitigate the impact of this exodus by creating a friendlier business environment and investing in domestic pharmaceutical and other companies.

The NMA also reviewed the progress made in clearing salary arrears, implementing the new hazard allowance, revising and implementing the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA), and other salary packages for doctors and health workers in various NMA State Branches.

The association commended the Executive Governors of Ekiti, Rivers, and Ebonyi States for running doctor-friendly administrations in their respective states.