The Nigeria Medical Association has called on the House of Representatives to enact a law for the establishment of Bank of Health to further strengthen the nation’s health system for effective and efficient service delivery.
Prof. Innocent Ujah, the President of the association made the call when the NMA paid a courtesy call on the leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ujah said that just like the country had Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture, the House should consider making a law that would allow for the establishment of Bank of Health.
He said such move would help to curtail the menace of brain drain, adding that those medical doctors who left the shore of Nigeria in search of greener pasture would find it expedient to return.
Ujah called for a more inclusive approach in health policy legislation.
He solicited the assistance of the lawmakers to stop brain drain, adding that if nothing was done to arrest the trend, the health system might just collapse.
The NMA president urged the House to look into members’ retirement age, noting that in developed countries, medical doctors in their 80s were still engaged in training of young doctors.
He called for improvement in funding and budgetary allocation to the sector, adding that it would help to improve the health system.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his remarks, said he was fascinated with the idea of “Health Bank”, adding that the House would explore it and sought members’ input.
“We cannot talk of nation building without healthcare system, we will keep pushing for any bill that will make our health system functional, we will work with you to achieve that,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said the COVID-19 pandemic had brought to fore the vulnerability of the nation’s health system, adding that the House would consider the retirement age issue, since doctors in developed countries still worked at 80.
According to him, the health sector had one of the highest budgetary allocations, adding that the 2020 allocation was over N1 trillion.