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Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has appealed to medical doctors in Nigeria who are desirous of migrating overseas in search of green pastures to consider national interest and patriotism before taking such decisions.
Speaking to a gathering of doctors under the auspices of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) holding their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, Thursday, the Governor noted that God created them for the purpose of saving lives and appealed to them not to gloss over that important role God assigned to them.
The theme of the Conference is: ‘Healthcare System In A Depressed Economy,’ was delivered by Dr. Anthony Mba, Consultant Physician/Pharmacologist, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
The Governor in his remarks told the NMA leadership to consider national interest and patriotism to discourage their members from moving outside the country to practice, but rather remain in the country to help to save the Nigerian citizens who wholly depend on them for healthcare and survival.
Speaking as the Special Guest of Honour, the Governor appealed to the doctors to also consider the current economic situation of the country and partner with the Federal and State Governments to improve on the existing healthcare system instead of abandoning the country for other countries, noting that “the only country we can proudly call our own is Nigeria.”
The Governor congratulated the doctors for their choice of Imo State for their meeting and thanked the leadership for the medical outreach they carried out in Nkwerre area of the State.
Governor Uzodinma reminded the doctors that by coming to Imo for their meeting, they have seen things for themselves, including the security situation, which has been largely given a wrong interpretation by political opponents to tarnish the image of the government.
‘Your going to Nkwerre for the programme and coming back safely is a pointer to the fact that peace has returned to Imo State and the insinuation that Imo State is the insecurity headquarters of the world is not true.’
He said the NMA has joined the list of high profile meetings that had taken in the past two years in Imo State and involving the Army, Police, Conference of Bishops, Accountants, Nigerian Guild of Editors and others. ‘That these bodies successfully held their meetings in Imo without hitches shows that Imo is safe.’
Governor Uzodinma said that his administration has made efforts, since inception, to give Imo citizens the best of healthcare first, by increasing the health sector’s budgetary allocation from paltry four percentage to eight percent and hoping to move it to 16 percent in the subsequent budget as part of measures to improve health delivery.
He recalled that his government established Free Mobile Health Clinic at inception in addition to the rehabilitation of the 305 Primary Healthcare Centres in the 305 Wards of the State because of the poor state of the health sector when he assumed office.
On Secondary healthcare system, the Governor informed of the construction of three brand new General Hospital in the State, equipped with state of the art facilities and ready for commissioning, all meant to complement the excellent works of the Specialist Hospital at Umuguma in Owerri.
He also recalled efforts made by his administration in the return of accreditation to School of Nursing and Midwifery at Aboh Mbaise and Amaigbo as well as the recovery of Imo State Teaching Hospital Orlu which was in a comatose state when he assumed office in January 2020.
Governor Uzodinma used the opportunity to thank the Federal Government for the approval to make FMC, Owerri a Teaching Hospital, saying the development has led to Imo State having two Tertiary health institutions, ‘a partnership that will offer comprehensive healthcare to the citizens of Imo State.’
Furthermore, Governor Uzodimma said that comprehensive and compulsory health insurance scheme which his government has initiated has started yielding results and solicited private partnership for it to work optimally.
Though the Governor acknowledged that the doctors working in Nigeria may not be getting enough compared to their contemporaries outside the country, he assured that on his part, his government will continue to take their welfare seriously “because it is work in progress.”
He commended the patriotism of the leadership of NMA at the State and National levels, and the entire membership of the Nigerian Medical Association and promised that Imo State will continue to support them.
In his address, the national President of Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Uche Ojinmah noted that contrary to what they heard and read on social media about insecurity, “Imo is safe.”
He called on his members “to persevere, work closer together and provide anchors for one another to weather through the raging storm of life ocean,” reminding his members of the Hippocratic oath they took.
He also urged his members to pray and work for peace and prosperity of the nation.