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FG Supports Local Manufacturers Of Pharmaceuticals With N100Bn Loan

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday disclosed the Federal Government had released a total of N100 billion loan to indigenous pharmaceuticals manufacturers and healthcare investors as part of his administration’s efforts to improve their capital base and increase local production of drugs and medical consumables.

President Buhari, who was quoted in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, as giving this hint in Abuja when he received the new National Officers Committee (NOC)  of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said the loan was extended  to the beneficiaries through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support the nation’s pharmaceutical sector.

He also disclosed that the Health Sector Reform Committee chaired by the Vice President, Prof, Yemi Osinbajo, was currently exploring models for revitalizing the nation’s healthcare system to improve quality of care and the benefit package to care providers.

On the increasingly worrisome emigration of experts in the health sector to foreign countries, the President directed the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to consider ways of turning the nation’s ‘brain drain’ syndrome to ‘brain gain’ by engaging top Nigerian medical experts in the diaspora for the purposes of knowledge and skills repatriation.

He also urged the leadership of the NMA and other stakeholders in the health sector to support government’s initiatives, including working with the committees set up to fast-track a health system that best meets the needs of Nigerians in the 21st century.

President Buhari commended the association for consistently choosing peaceful resolution of differences on matters pertinent to the national health system.

The President said: “I commend our medical professionals for their contribution to Nigeria’s exemplary management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the control of malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis, and other feats also achieved by Nigerian doctors in the diaspora.

‘‘Our response to COVID-19 pandemic has been praised internationally and your members are key parts of this success.

‘‘I recall that in the last quarter of 2021, the immediate past NMA Executives visited me and presented recommendations for the health sector, which included, the review and amendment of NHIS Act; upgrading and equipping existing health institutions; loans to fund hospital equipment; the repeal and re-enactment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act; and Appeal for more funding for the four (4) newly established Universities of Medical Sciences.

‘‘I am pleased to inform you that most of these recommendations have been addressed, whilst further action is being taken to study those involving cross-cutting administrative processes with legal implications”, Buhari added.

Speaking at the forum, the Minister of Health, who led the newly elected leaders of the association to the President, said that the medical practitioners had been good partners with his ministry by helping to regulate the health profession and harping on quality service delivery.

In his remarks, the NMA President, Dr. Uche Ojinmah, said the new National Officers Committee (NOC) was elected on the 21st May and lauded President Buhari for his steadfast campaing against corruption.

Ojinmah also expressed optimism that the President’s assent to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act would “improve the health indices of our nation and described the inauguration of the Health Reform Committee chaired by  the Vice President and the various infrastructure projects embarked upon by the government as a desirable step towards enhancing the nation’s healthcare standard.

He also appealed to the President to ensure full and appropriate implementation of the NHIA Act’s provision on “adequate work equipment, conducive work environment and necessary budget support;” as well as elongation of the retirement age for medical consultants to 70 years and non-consultant doctors and other healthcare workers to 65 years, amongst other pleas.

 

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