From Mustapha Adamu, Kano
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Kano State branch, has commended the Kano State COVID-19 Task Force for its performance in response to the pandemic in the state.
The Chairman of the branch, Usman Ali, made the commendation at a media briefing as part of activities to celebrate the 2020 Physicians’ Week, held at the NMA’s secretariat in Kano, yesterday.
He said the composition of the committee, led by the Deputy Governor of the state, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, which include experienced infectious disease experts and epidemiologists was the brain behind its success in the state.
He said the committee has done excellently well in responding to the outbreak of the pandemic in the state, despite the considerable impact of the virus on global morbidity, mortality and healthcare utilization.
He however, decried the shortage of monthly stipend given to Nigerian doctors as hazard allowance.
Ali said that the N5,000 monthly allowance is given to healthcare workers in the state is “too small”.
According to him, in view of the risks attached to health profession in Nigeria, especially with the spread of COVID-19, it is uncalled for to give a medical doctor N5,000 as hazard allowance monthly.
Ali lamented that from new intake, up to the level of professor in medicine, the amount of the allowance remain the same, calling on federal and state governments to as a matter of urgency, implement upward review of what he described as “abysmally poor hazard allowance.”
“The government should as a matter of urgency implement an upward review of the current abysmally poor hazard allowance paid to doctors and other healthcare workers.
“ The doctors have been overworked, yet they are neither motivated, nor encouraged. This is because the doctor-patient ratio is on the increased side.
“For instance, during COVID-19 outbreak in Kano, we lost two doctors in the line of duty. If you look at this allowance, it is too poor for our doctors to use and even proved Personal Protective Equipment for themselves. We therefore call on the government to increase this allowance,” he appealed.
The Chairman observed that the COVID-19 had nakedly exposed the inadequacies of health systems around the world in response to the pandemic, noting that Nigeria is not spared from the challenges posed by the outbreak of the virus.
He called on Nigerian government to provide accessible and affordable healthcare for the citizens, advising that the National Insurance Scheme should be accessible to all Nigerians.
“For the government to provide accessible and affordable healthcare for its people, it is recommend that the National Health Insurance Scheme should be made accessible for all Nigerians, establishment of health bank and intensification of public private policy,” he advised.
The Chairman also disclosed that part of the six-day celebration include medical outreach in Gaya Local Government area of the state, where the association would provide free eye surgeries, eye consultation and distribution of eye medication.
He commended all doctors practicing in Kano for “their bravery to face grave risk and challenges to continue maintaining the highest possible standard of professionalism in providing healthcare services to Kano people.”