….Briefs Governor Obaseki on Mission As President of WMA
The President of the World Medical Association, WMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, has called on the Edo State government to urgently attend to the existing challenges in the state’s health sector. Particularly tasking the state government on health system strengthening and the motivation of the existing human resource for health in the state, Dr. Enabulele specifically appealed to the governor to implement the new hazard allowance approved for physicians and other health professionals in Nigeria. Recall that at its Annual General Meeting in Benin City on Monday, July 10, the state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, had complained bitterly about “the harsh working conditions” under which physicians in the state operate, including the non-payment of hazard allowance for almost a year now. Presenting the demands of his colleagues when he paid a courtesy visit to the governor at the government house on Friday to intimate him about his activities so far as the number one physician in the world, Dr. Enabulele also used the opportunity of the visit to formally invite him to the 76th General Assembly of the WMA billed to hold in Kigali, Rwanda, in October this year, when his one-year tenure ends, an invitation the governor readily accepted, promising to be physically present with some members of his government. He also promised to look into the demands of the NMA as presented to him. The visiting WMA President reiterated his call for a strong health system, resilient health workforce, and universal health coverage (UHC). He informed the governor of his progress and commitment towards fulfilling his mandate as WMA President, particularly as it concerns the advancement of global health through advocacy for health system strengthening and universal health coverage. Similarly briefing the governor on his efforts towards “promoting medical ethics, patient-centered care, reduction of violence against physicians and other health professionals, investment in the development of a resilient and motivated health workforce, and support for WMA constituent members, among others”, Dr. Enabulele commended him for his efforts in repositioning the state in areas such as civil service reforms, Sports development, electricity/power generation, technology, and digital transformation. He particularly expressed great delight at the triumphant victory of the Bendel Insurance Football Club at the recently held 2023 Nigeria Federation Cup, stating that this was only possible because of the state government’s obvious commitment to Sports, “including the revival of Bendel Insurance Football Club which last won a major tournament 43 years ago, precisely in 1980”. He once again appreciated the governor, members of his Executive Council, the Oba of Benin, and the people of Edo State, for the encouragement so far given to him in his leadership of the World Medical Association. Responding, Governor Obaseki said the people of the state were very proud of the WMA President whom he stated had so far recorded many progressive strides in his tenure. He praised him for his commendable efforts in health system strengthening and Universal Health Coverage. Thanking the WMA President for being appreciative of the state government’s developmental strides, the governor assured him of his commitment to strengthening the state’s health system and called for a special workshop to be organised, with a focus on reforming the health system. Using the opportunity of the visit to table their requests, the state NMA, which had at its AGM complained of the governor’s refusal to grant them an audience for almost a year now despite their enormous challenges, identified other challenges as the exclusion of doctors in the state from minimum wage payment; the disappearing residency programme; the refusal to ensure palliatives despite going to work every day in the face of fuel subsidy removal, the miserable working conditions, the deplorable state of hospitals, as well as little or no imprest to run the hospitals, among others. Dr. Enabulele was accompanied on the visit by his wife, Joan Enabulele, an associate professor, Dr. Imoisili, the state NMA chairman, and her deputy,Dr. Benson Okwara, other members of the NMA executive council, including Heads of Affiliate bodies. Before his visit to Governor Obaseki, the WMA President had had a Presidential Roundtable with resident doctors at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH where he introduced them to the World Medical Association, its mission, objectives, activities, and benefits.