The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Kogi Chapter, has commended Gov. Yahaya Bello for signing into law Kogi State Health Insurance Agency, KSHIA, Bill and Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, KSPHCDA, Amendment Bill.
Dr Kabiru Zubair, the NMA Chairman in Lokoja on Monday, commended Gov. Yahaya Bello for assenting to the two health-related bills.
Zubair described the governor’s assent to the bills as a significant milestone in the state’s health care sector.
Bello on Wednesday signed the two health-related bills and six others into law.
“The health insurance scheme is geared toward reducing out-of-pocket expenses for Kogi people in line with the struggle to attain Universal Health Coverage, UHC,’’ Zubair said in a statement.
He said that the laws would put the state on the same pedestal as other states in the federation where state health insurance scheme had been established.
The NMA boss said that the Primary Health Care Development Agency would ensure the delivery of quality basic health care to rural areas and the down-trodden.
According to him, Kogi is set to benefit from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, BHCPF, which is one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF, and funds donated by donor agencies.
He noted that the implementation of government’s policies remained the biggest obstacle in the state.
The medical practitioner advised the government to muster the political will to quickly pay the counterpart fund as the criteria required for states to benefit from the fund.
He urged the state government to improve on manpower and the welfare of the state’s health workers to be able to deliver quality healthcare.
“The NMA is emphasising for the umpteenth time that the government may not be able to deliver quality healthcare without the right skilled manpower and skill mix.
“It will be difficult to succeed in the implementation of Kogi health insurance scheme and primary health care without motivated health care workers.
“Kogi is moving further every passing month from the World Health Organisation, WHO, recommended doctor to patient ratio of 1:600.
“In 2016, Kogi had a total of 437 doctors comprising those in federal, state and private health institutions and with a population of about 3.5 million inhabitants, which was a doctor to patient ratio of 1:8,000.
“With the exit of over 100 doctors from the state in the last four years, the ratio has dropped to about 1:10,000. Therefore, urgent steps must be taken to halt the current drift.
“The only way to slow down the exit of doctors from the state civil service is to prioritise the payment of the salaries of doctors and other health workers,’’ Mr Zubair said.
He urged the government to implement the corrected Consolidated Medical Salary Scale, CONMESS, and to also give tax incentives to health workers.
“The government must seriously consider the effect the new minimum wage will have on salaries of the state’s civil servants.
“It will further widen the gap in pay package between Kogi and other states, if not implemented,’’ he said.