Doctors in Nigeria have said they appreciate what Governor Hope Uzodimma is doing in the health and other sectors in Imo State, promising to be part of his success story.
The doctors, operating under the umbrella of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), spoke on Monday when their President, Dr. Uche Ojinma, led other national officials to a courtesy call on the Governor at Government House Owerri ahead of their national executive council (NEC) meeting on Thursday.
Dr. Ojinma said that Governor Uzodimma’s intervention in primary health, regional hospitals, health insurance, among other key areas in the health sector has marked him out as someone who understands what he has come to do in Imo with regard to infrastructure.
He spoke as Governor Uzodimma urged the doctors to join hands with the State and Federal Governments to make Nigeria great again, emphasising that “doctors and other health workers are supposed to bring value addition to the State and Country using their profession.”
The Governor who thanked them for choosing Owerri, the State Capital for the meeting and for acknowledging his modest achievements, described the NMA as “a strategic and important body, a sector that is critical and important to life that every government is forced to take serious.”
Governor Uzodimma said that in his efforts to serve Imo people well, his administration always partners with the Nigerian Medical Association to drive home good healthcare, conducive environment and quality life to the people.
He assured the body of his administration’s continuous support to the health sector and harped on the need for doctors to take their work seriously.
“It is not easy and possible to compare the practice in Africa with that of other climes because of the operating environment and the leadership style.”
However, he emphasized that though our public hospitals are supposed to be the last hope of the common man “but the doctors and other health workers have made it almost impossible as they prefer directing patients to their private hospitals where they charged people highly, making cost of healthcare unaffordable to the common Nigeria citizen.”
Governor Uzodimma regretted that the level of indiscipline among the doctors is growing by the day to the detriment of the people.
He noted that on assumption of office he tried to handle primary healthcare first “because it is the nearest to the people where emergency ailments could first be handled before moving to the General hospitals.”
On the differences in the payment and salaries of medical doctors, Governor Uzodimma acknowledged that the pay may not be competitive, and that he has nothing against any doctors thinking of where to get a better pay “but they should first evaluate the operating environment, think of the end factor before taking a leap.”
The Governor said that “all other things being equal, some countries train excess doctors and other medical officers, draw the much they can employ and export others to bring in foreign direct investment.”
Regardless, he reiterated that medical doctors are critical elements in the society who should use their God given talent to assist the Nation, even as he wished the NMA a fruitful convention in Imo State.
Earlier in his remarks, Dr. Ojinma accompanied by the Chairman of NMA Imo State, Dr. Chidi Obieshi and the National Secretary, Dr. Jide Onyekwelu, the CMD FMC Owerri, Dr.Kingsley Achigbu and others, told the Governor that they came to pay homage to him, to inform him that they are in Imo State for their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which was held last in Imo some 11 years ago.
The President expressed great pleasure that the Governor approved the opportunity to meet them and seized the chance to inform him that the NEC will feature two days Medical Outreach in the course of the meeting at Nkwerre in Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State.
He added that the free medical care will concentrate on eye treatment.
Dr. Ojinma expressed appreciation over what the Governor is doing in the State in the area of primary health, construction of general hospitals, quality and durable roads, and prayed that the other Governors in the South East will join hands with Governor Uzodimma to drastically contain insecurity in the zone so that life will be more meaningful in the area.
He commended the Governor for setting up the Imo State Health Insurance Scheme and even creating a Ministry of Health Insurance in addition to accommodating some medical doctors in the Imo State Executive Council, noting that with the Imo State Health Insurance “Imo has set a new impetus and ready for next generation health care.”
He cited the upgrade of Federal Medical Centre to a Federal Medical Teaching Hospital as s great fest achieved by Governor Uzodimma and requested that it will be most appreciated if another Federal Medical Centre (FMC) is established to replace the old one.
Dr. Ojinma also made some requests. He appealed to the Governor to look into the salaries and take home of their members and help to implement their special salary scale, saying that “enhanced salary will help to attract quality medical staff and retain them.”
Again, he appealed to the Governor to add more impetus to the upgrade of Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) and bring it back to operate maximally so that Imo people will get the best of medical care they require therefrom.
Finally, he thanked the Governor for assisting them in hosting the NMA NEC in Imo State.
Those that joined the Governor to receive them were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chike Olemgbe, the Chief of Staff Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie and other members of the State Expanded Exco.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor