Doctors Rise Up: The Time Is Now!

1958

Rise up

Rise up, doctors

Rise up, unafraid

When the silence isn’t quiet

And it feels like it’s getting hard to breath

And I know you feel like dying

But I promise

We’ll take the world to its feet

And move mountains

We’ll take it to its feet

And move mountains

A PUBLIC DISGRACE

On the 17th of February 2020, doctors and doctors’ leaders were frustrated and ridiculed at the Public hearing on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The Senate Committee on Health is interested in enacting an Act to abolish the NHIS Act and replace it with the National Health Insurance Commission (NHIC).

The Public hearing was to hear from the general public and especially to hear from stakeholders on a bill being sponsored to repeal the NHIS Act of 2004 and replace it with a new Act setting up the NHIC.

3 *MINUTES*!

At such a monumental and pivotal event, doctors were side-lined and given a mere 3 minutes to talk. Not enough time to get up and straighten one’s Agbada: let alone say anything meaningful.

Such ridicule and disrespect should signal the beginning of the end in any continued participation in the farce called the NHIS.

STAKEHOLDERS

The stakeholders in any law on the NHIS or the proposed NHIC are a general health-seeking Nigerian public, the healthcare providers and perhaps the Health Management Organisations (HMO).

So, let me explain this in simple terms.

The NHIS is about getting Nigerians who need healthcare to see doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other providers who will provide healthcare needs. The HMOs are the engine to help make that contact episode seamless and pain-free for both the patient and the doctor. So, the experience is beneficial to the patient!

The experience is only beneficial if the doctor is empowered to provide the facility, the manpower and the wherewithal for the patient to enjoy.

It almost means that the doctor is the most important ingredient in this rich Egusi soup.

Everything the patient will enjoy is to be provided by the doctor.

So, why would the doctor be side-lined in such a situation?

Yet, this is what has been happening since the inception of the NHIS.

The fat cats creaming from the NHIS have been the officials of the NHIS and the HMOs.

The health care providers (doctors!) have been systematically strangled and strung out, that many no longer offer care on the NHIS.

For far too long, the NHIS as an organization takes the money available for the health of the Nigerian patient and uses up to 70% for administrative costs!

Similarly, the HMOs take close to 15% of the money given to them to pay for the healthcare needs of their clients as administrative costs!

The PROVIDERS, aka, doctors are paid peanuts and no administrative charges! If paid at all!

You see, many hospitals and healthcare facilities are owed millions of Naira in unpaid bills, many years in arrears.

We have been bled to the bone and many hospitals have gone bankrupt with doctors ending up in penury.

Hospitals have closed down simply for helping Nigerians and providing timely care at the time of their needs.

INSULT

The latest insult is the Senate hearing in which doctors were pushed aside as unimportant parts of the NHIC pie.

The people agitating for the repeal of the NHIS and the enactment of the NHIC are already sharing the pie to the exclusion of providers. This monumental slight can only head in one direction, failure!

It’s simple.

Doctors and doctors’ organizations (HCPAN, GMD, NMA, AGPMPN) should bend forward and tell the Senate and the HMOs what to do. They can keep the NHIC where the sun does not shine!

The simple truth is that this will not work without doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and all other healthcare providers.

Healthcare providers should be the ones to tell the senate and HMO organizations on how to solve any related issues.

We cannot be ignored or sidelined if real gains are to be made with the NHIS.

We do the work!

NB: On another matter, nurses and doctors have recently been increasingly threatened and injured by relatives in our hospitals. Doctors have been assaulted, kidnapped and even killed by irate members of the public. Please note that the problems with our health care delivery are not the fault of doctors.

Next time the elections come around, vote wisely!

5 COMMENTS

  1. In Nigeria we have a very good system but lack the integrity to drive it! We have the idea how good things look like but lack the energy to drive it to fruition! In Nigeria, those who know close to nothing about healthcare make decisions and it’s a shame! I hope there will be voice of reason in the senate to right the wrong in this case! Thanks Dr Biodun

  2. This is clearly explicit! Thank you sir. It hurt so much to see other groups who are not even stakeholders in this whole NHIS charade given 20 minutes to express themselves. Some even sought clarifications and were obliged but the Senate committee on health barely gave the Doctor associations 3 minutes to talk.
    Oh that was not the worst! He proceeded to eat Banana and ground nut while prof spoke while shaking his head as the points were rolled out.

    That is the most disrespectful thing I have seen in recent times and since this happened at a public hearing that even involved the media, it is gross disrespect for the medical profession as a whole.

    It is indeed time to act.
    Sad!

  3. Since they sidelined doctors, why can’t we sideline them with this their NHIS/NHIC, and see how far and well they go without doctors. We are a critical issue in any healthcare delivery system , the world over. Sometimes we seem to appear beggarly even when we are being insulted or ridiculed. No body does that with a body of lawyers.

  4. It is very ridiculous that the Helm of the Ship of the Nigerian Healthcare Delivery System is being sailed by “Political Pirates” who through political pillaging has beset the system to a quagmire by sidelining the key elements that maintain sanity in the system.

    But my question is…”What is the Minister of Health doing to save the profession from such a ridiculing conspiracy by the Cabals”?

  5. So sad we were treated in a such away. We have not gotten that message. Walking out of the hall in such situation would have been a good silence for the scheme or commission or authority. I expect a full page publication on the manner we conduct public hearing except if some people are lrakingvthe booth of oloriegbe. We still have the opportunity now rather than inward fighting on who occupies what position. We still have to have a round table talk and immediately. Dr Ogungbo, love your write up and information, its apt

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