President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said the Federal Government was considering an upward review of budgetary allocation to the health sector.
This, he said, was meant to improve the quality and access to medical facilities across the country.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke when he received the new executive of the Nigerian Medical Association at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari said the review of the budgetary allocation would reflect the government’s priority of ensuring that Nigerians get better healthcare, especially in specialised areas.
“We place quality health care on our priority list, and we are already marching on with the Primary Health Care services and some state governors have bought into it. We are committed to universal health care,” he said.
The President gave the leaders of the NMA the assurance that the White Paper from the Ahmed Yayale-led panel report on inter-professional harmony in the healthcare sector was already being considered by the government to ensure more organised and harmonised working relationships among medical practitioners.
Buhari, however, urged the medical practitioners to always consider their profession as a “divine call” especially in taking decisions that directly impact on the lives of Nigerians, adding that other means of negotiation for better working conditions should be explored instead of strikes.
“The medical profession is regarded as a divine call because of the strategic role you play in the lives of human beings,” he said.
The President commended the NMA and its members for some of the medical feats being achieved in Nigeria like the separation of conjoined twins, organ transplants, heart surgeries and treatment of cancer patients.
Buhari noted that the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council would soon be constituted to further enhance service delivery and regulation of the sector.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Health, Dr Osagie Ohanire, said a newly released basic health care provision would further focus on improving service delivery to Nigerians through the Primary Health Care.
The President of the NMA, Dr Francis Adedayo, commended Buhari for including members of the NMA in the Federal Executive Council and signing of the Medical Residency Training Act into law.
Adedayo urged the Federal Government to improve the budgetary allocation to the health sector as required by the Abuja Declaration which sets a benchmark of 15 per cent.
He said the speedy processing of the Ahmed Yayale report on harmony among practitioners in the medical sector would go a long way in enhancing service delivery and better working relationships.
The NMA president said the association had already reached out to the National Emergency Management Agency for stronger partnership in providing care for victims of disasters.