To strengthen health care delivery in Nigeria, the President of National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), Prof. Opubo da Lilly-Tariah, has said universal health coverage was a must for all Nigerians irrespective of economic status.
He said continuous out-of-pocket payment for medical bills was a major setback that has set Nigeria’s health sector back.
Speaking in Lagos, at the college’s pre-convocation press briefing, where he stated the need to explore all options available to government and the private sector to make quality health care accessible to all Nigerians, he revealed that over 400 students would be churned out at the 36th convocation holding today.
He called on the Federal Government to do everything possible to make the National Health Insurance Scheme universal, while pointing out that if the full potential of universal coverage was
explored, products of NPMCN would be in a good position to deliver quality and affordable health care to Nigerians including those living in remote areas.
The group’s president said it would also alleviate brain drain among the practitioners.
He said exodus of doctors from Nigeria used to be an exclusive preserve of trained specialists, lamenting that doctors-in-training are now leaving the country in droves.
Decrying how poor funding has been hampering the training institute from optimally meeting up its mandate, he said the role of the postgraduate college was unique, hence, the Federal Government needed to give it a preferential treatment.
Said he: “The challenge of funding is threefold. These are the teaching hospitals, residency programme and college.
The teaching hospitals are the training arena for the resident doctors and the workstations of the trainers. Poor funding of the teaching hospitals results in paucity of facilities; poor motivation for trainers and trainees. The consequence is the dwindling number of places for training of resident doctors.
“While we advocate public private partnership, these partnerships should be with competent investors who have a stake in the evolution of their brands.
“Funding of the residency programme is also problematic. This has been left to the whims of the institution. Adequate attention is not paid to sponsorship for examinations, courses and training in other institutions locally and abroad.
READ ALSO Why PDP’ll win Osun guber – Oke
“Infrastructural development is still poor in the college. Learning resources are still poorly developed. Funding of college’s activities is still less satisfactory.
The college needs a befitting library building. It has for the past few years sought to actualise the clinical skills and simulation laboratory but poor funding has made it impossible.”
He said the college’s only two sources of income-subventions from government and examinations/courses fees – were not enough to run its activities.