AS DOCTORS commence the 2016 Annual Physicians’ Week, Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has threatened to take the Federal Government to court if it fails to implement the National Health Act 2014, after two years of signing it into law. The NMA gave this threat yesterday in Abuja during a walk in collaboration with Civil Societies Organisation, CSOs, to take its demand for immediate implementation of the National Health Act to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa. President of the NMA, Dr. Mike Ogirima had urged President Buhari to immediately implement the NHA which was signed into law two years ago for improvement of the health indices of Nigerians. Ogirima said, ‘’As Chief custodians of the health of Nigerians, we are asking on behalf of Nigerians that the provisions of this Act be seen to be implemented, particularly where it borders on pulling tons for our health facilities. ‘’We need a robust health system where there is universal health coverage where over 170 million Nigerians should have access to good health care wherever they are.’’ ‘’As we walked to Aso Villa to drop a letter for Mr. President, though we were prevented from entering, we called on government for immediate implementation of provisions of the NHA two years after it has been passed into law.’’ ‘’ As you are all aware, the Act was enacted with a provision, it has potential to turn around the fortune of the hitherto bastardised health sector into law. This was because the Act made specific provisions for basic health care fund which is a first line charge on Consolidated Federal Government budget.’’ Ogirima further called on government to release the 1% consolidated fund for health to be deployed to the nation’s Primary Health Care which has been so neglected in the past. He said, ‘’the fund which is known as the minimum health package, should be channelled into the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, to provide services to the less privileged, the under five, the aged, accident victims on our roads so that within 24 hours of any emergency, anyone anywhere in the country can receive adequate care.’’ The NMA used the occasion to call on the president to immediately start the operation of the National health Act without further delay, adding that, ‘with our economy in recession, we cannot afford to leave the ordinary Nigerians on the street to their fate in seeking health care.’’ Operationalisation of this Act with increased enrolment in the National Health insurance scheme, will bring the desired Universal Health Coverage, UHC, which is the way to ensure healthy citizens, he said. The Country Representative of One Campaign, Edwin Ikhwuoria also called on the president to implement the NHA and to release the 1% allocation for health budget into the 2017 budget, adding that if government refuses to implement the Act which has already become a law, it would not hesitate to take the Federal Government to court.


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