COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE VIRTUAL 60th ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE AND DELEGATES MEETING (AGC/ADM) OF THE NIGERIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION HELD ON 3OTH MAY, 2020.
The 60thAnnual General Conference and Delegates meeting (AGC/ADM) of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)was held online on Saturday, 30th May,2020. The 60th AGC/ADM was previously slated to be hosted by NMA Plateau State Branch, Nigeria between 25th April and 2nd May, 2020. The theme of the ADM was “Global Health Agenda: The Road to 2030: Where is Nigeria? The Sub – themes were “Emergency Medicine: Hands-on- Skills for Nigerian Doctors, Innovation in Medicine, Public Private Partnership: Opportunities for greater efficiency in the Nigerian Health Sector and Strengthening Medical Entrepreneurship: Opportunities for Nigerian Doctors. However, the current ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant restriction of interstate movement and mass gatherings, prevented the Association from holding the physical meeting in Jos, Plateau State, on the earlier scheduled date. However, in deference to the constitutional requirements for tenure of elected officers and to sustain the calendar of the Association, there was a collective decision taken by the National Executive Council to adopt an earlier recommendation of the Committee of Past Presidents, for the organization of a virtual AGC/ADM.
This is the first time in the history of NMA that a virtual AGC/ADM took place.
The AGC/ADM was preceded by a virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which held on Monday, 25th May, 2020.
The Annual Delegates Meeting which was attended by 332 delegates from 36 NMA State Branches across the country and the NMA Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Branch , climaxed with the very successful elections into the National Officers’ Committee of NMA for the 2020- 2022 Executive year.
- The AGC/ADM noted that the World is facing the greatest health crisis in over a century, and since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria on 27th February,2020 till date , the number of confirmed cases are still on the rise with 9302 cases of COVID-19 already confirmed with 261 deaths as of 29th May, 2020. The AGC/ADM however commended both the Federal and most State Governments for strengthening the various measures aimed at quickly controlling and containing the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
- The AGC/ADM specially commended all Health Workers in Nigeria for their efforts at curtailing the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic in the country despite the weak health system, inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), poor remuneration, and the overall shortage of healthcare professionals in the country.
- The 60th AGC/ADM expressed great concern with the worrisome disposition of the Governments of Kogi and Cross River States to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on testing, warning that it could seriously jeopardize the entire national response to curtailing COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria. The AGC/ADM also noted that the pronouncements of the political leaders in these two States constitute outright interference in NCDC’s coordination of case management.
- The AGC/ADM condemned the Federal Government of Nigeria for its poor handling of the unnecessary visit of the Chinese Doctors some weeks ago to the country. The AGC/ADM commended the Association’s earlier stance against the initial motive of the Federal Government to make these Chinese Doctors treat COVID-19 patients in the country.
- The AGC/ADM unequivocally condemned the non-implementation of the CONMESS circular for the payment of medical allowances accrued to all medically qualified medical doctors and dentists in the employment of Nigerian Universities. The AGC/ADM also regrettably noted that if this issue was not urgently addressed, it may lead to acute shortages of Medical Teachers in the Universities, with most Medical Colleges finding it difficult to meet up with the required number of Medical Teachers for accreditation and training of medical students.
- The AGC/ADM expressed dismay with the failure of both the Federal and State Governments to effectively check security lapses and the rising incidence of kidnapping, banditry and killing of innocent Nigerians. The AGC/ADM seriously frowned at the continued incarceration of our colleagues namely, Dr.Audu Sule and Dr.Sunday Oduniyi for fifteen (15) and fourteen (14) months respectively by a gang of Kidnappers in Taraba State. The AGC/ADM also expressed disappointment with the inability of the security agencies to bring to book, the perpetrators of the killers of Prof.Jerome Boluwaji Elutayo Elusiyan, who was killed on his way back to Ile-Ife from Ekpoma where he had served as an external examiner for Medical Students’ examinations.
- The AGC/ADM commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for partnering with Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the provision of special fund for the development of the health sector in Nigeria.
- The AGC/ADM particularly expressed worry over the various difficulties encountered by Nigerian Doctors in registering for their Annual Medical and Dental Practicing Licenses due to the very cumbersome web site of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN). The above challenge has been recurring,despite the several complaints made to the MDCN on this subject matter especially, sincethe commencement of online registration for medical and dental practitioners in the country. The AGC/ADM expressed great displeasure on the MDCN’s unwillingness to reverse this ugly trend.
- The AGC/ADM noted as unacceptable, and seriously condemned the continued failure of Abia State Government to pay the salaries of doctors and other health workers at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital for up to fourteen (14) months and Abia State Hospital Management for thirteen (13) months, despite several interventions by NMA. The AGC/ADM also strongly condemned the casualization of doctors in some health facilities in the country.
- The AGC/ADM commended the members of the NMA National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) for the diligent prosecution and critical review of the cases of:(1). Dr. Awkadigwe Fredrick Ikenna, a member of Association of Resident Doctors of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu State who had earlier been referred to the NDC for instituting a legal suit against the NMA in court. (2).Dr. Abdullahi Alfa, a member of NMA Kaduna State Branch, who was similarly referred to the NDC for instituting a legal suit against the Association as well as (3). Dr. Waziri Garba Dahiru, a member of NMA Kaduna State Branch who was referred to the NDC for filing a legal suit against the Secretary of Kaduna State Branch of NMA, Dr. Ifeanyi Aghadi, in reaction to an allegation of religious/ ethnic bias levied against him by the State Officers’ Committee (SOC) of the Kaduna State Branch of NMA .
- The AGC/ADM applauded the leadership and all members of Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (WMAN) for providing the needed platforms, international recognition and increased global visibility for WMAN and NMA at large. The various efforts culminated in the recent election of a Past President of WMAN, Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi as the International President of the Medical Women International Association. This is the very first time a Nigerian will be occupying the position.
- The AGC/ADM applauded the efforts of the President Francis Adedayo Faduyile- led NMA leadership in promoting inter- professional harmony in the health sector through the on-going bilateral and multilateral platforms involving the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives. This has promoted team work and to a large extent reduced the inter professional disharmony in the health sector in the recent past.
- The AGC/ADM applauded the efforts of the NMA leadership led by Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile (2018- 2020) for settling all legal encumbrances on the NMA Land in Abuja, mobilizing Nigerian doctors to contribute financially towards a building of a befitting NMA National Secretariat and the successful ground-breaking ceremony and Foundation Laying of the Multi Billion Naira Secretariat held on Thursday, 28th May, 2020.
- The AGC/ADM thanked Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile and other members of the 2018- 2020 National Officers’ Committee (NOC), for their various outstanding performances notably the current fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, successful hosting of the 2nd National Health Summit and 25th Commonwealth Medical Association Triennial Conference, 5th NMA National Games and the building of a befitting NMA National Secretariat in Abuja.
- The AGC/ADM congratulated Prof. Innocent Achanya Otobo Ujah, FNMA, mni a distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, newly appointed Vice- Chancellor, Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo , Benue State and former Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) on his historic election and installation as the new President of Nigerian Medical Association for 2020- 2022 Executive Year. The AGC/ADM also congratulated other National Officers who were duly elected namely : Prof. Rasaaq Ayodele Adebayo as First Vice- President, Dr. Daiyabu Alhaji Ibrahim as Second Vice-President, Dr. Philips Uche Ekpe as Secretary-General, Dr. Saliu Olugbenga Oseni as Deputy Secretary- General, Dr. Eric Azuka Anazodo as the National Treasurer , Dr. Pobe Degri Jauro as the National Financial Secretary , Dr. Aniekeme Aniefiok Uwah JP as the National Publicity Secretary , Prof. Francis Augustine Vincent Umoh ; Editor, Nigerian Medical Journal (NMJ).
- The AGC/ADM implored all Nigerian doctors, the Federal and State Governments and all stakeholders, to sustain the present dedication towards the curtailment of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
- The AGC/ADM urged Governments at all levels to provide robust palliatives for Nigerians and to increase capacity and capability of health workers, and to ramp up population testing which is a reliable barometer to predict community prevalence and transmission.
- The AGC/ADM appealed to the Federal Government to direct the Presidential Task Force (PTF) to investigate the claims by the Kogi and Cross River State Governments of “no – positive-case” status and recommend appropriate remedial interventions in the interest of safeguarding Nigeria’s Public Health.
- The AGC/ADM strongly demanded the implementation of special risk allowance and insurance for health workers at the Federal, State and Local Government levels, and the Private Sector. The AGC/ADM also implored the State Governments to make public the of Risk/Hazard/Inducement allowances, life insurance policies, and other incentives they are offering their healthcare employees. The AGC/ADM also implored the Governments to extend the above allowances to the Private Medical and Dental Practitioners under the auspices of Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN).
- The AGC/ADM implored the Federal Government to always consider the extant laws regulating the practice of Medicine in Nigeria as enshrined in the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap M8, 2004 laws of Federation of Nigeria and to consult with Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), before granting the necessary approval for foreigners to interact with Nigerian patients. The AGC/ADM reiterated that Nigeria has the expertise to fight COVID-19.
- The AGC/ADM restated her call on the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to direct all the Vice-Chancellors to immediately adopt the revised CONMESS circular for the payment of all allowances for all doctors in the employment of the Universities. The AGC/ADM directed NMA affiliates especially, Medical and Dental Specialist Association in Basic Medical Sciences (MeDSABAMS), National Association of Doctors in University Services (NADHUS) and Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), to ensure that the rights and privileges of all members of NMA working in the Nigerian Universities are not trampled upon, using all legitimate means at their disposal.
- The AGC/ADM again called on Governments at all levels and the security agencies to urgently do the needful in addressing the various security challenges in Nigeria. The AGC/ADM specifically called on the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Director of State Security Service and other security agencies in Taraba State to ensure the safe release of Dr. Sunday Oduniya and Dr. Audu, and bring to justice, those who killed Prof. Jerome Boluwaji Elusiyan in Edo State.
- The AGC/ADM directed the 2020- 2022 National Officers’ Committee of our Association to sustain the partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria in the revamping of the collapsing health care system in Nigeria.
- The AGC/ADM implored the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria(MDCN) to be more committed to the welfare of all Nigerian doctors and not only to be interested in pushing for punitive measures on Medical and Dental Practitioners in the country. The AGC/ADM also rejected the deadline of 31st July, 2020 issued to all Nigerian doctors to register online or have their payment for annual licences forfeited.
- The AGC/ADM further reiterated her earlier call on the Abia State Government to pay doctors and other health workers their accrued salaries, without further delay. The AGC/ADM also called on the Managements of all health facilities in the country to stop casualization of Medical and Dental Practitioners as this is contrary to relevant labour laws of engagement.
- The AGC/ADM adopted the various recommendations of the NMA National Disciplinary Committee(NDC) as follows:
( i). The indefinite suspension of Dr. Awkadigwe Fredrick Ikenna from the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
(ii). The lifting of the suspension order placed on Dr. Abdullahi Alfa, with his re-integrated back into NMA Kaduna State Branch.
(iii).The lifting of the suspension order on Dr. Waziri Garba Dahiru, with allhis rights and privileges as a member of NMA Kaduna State Branch restored forthwith. The State Officers Committee of Kaduna State Branch of NMA was mandated to formally withdraw the letters written to Dr. Waziri Dahiru with an apology letter tendered to him. Dr. Waziri Garba Dahiru was mandated to formally apologize to the Secretary of Kaduna State Branch of NMA, Dr. Ifeanyi Aghadi Kene, with submission of evidence of withdrawal of his private legal suit against Dr. Ifeanyi Aghadi Kene, to the NMA National Secretariat in Abuja.
- The AGC/ADM affirmed the confidence of the NMA in the ability of Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi as the International President of the Medical Women International Association (MWIA) to surpass past records in the administration of the Association and pledged to accord her the needed support to fly the flag of the (MWIA) to an amiable height.
- The AGC/ADM directed the NMA NOC 2020- 2022 to strengthen the on-going bilateral and multi-lateral understanding between the NMA and other health professional bodies and further use this template to reach out to other professional associations in the health sector to ensure a lasting inter-professional harmony.
- The AGC/ADM resolved to build a befitting NMA HOUSE in Abuja and appeals to Government at all levels, Philanthropists and well-meaning Nigerians to support this lofty project.
- The AGC/ ADM directed the NMA NOC for 2020- 2022 to implement the various recommendations from the 2nd National Health Summit and the Committee for NMA National Games on the various ways of improving Nigeria Health Outcomes and Indices, and ensuring a better NMA National Games in the future.
- The AGC/DC implored the newly installed President of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and other members of the NOC, to be good ambassadors of the Association and the Medical Profession as they take charge of the affairs of NMA in the next two years.
The Nigerian Medical Association is immensely grateful to the following: Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Health & Human Services; Hon.(Dr.) Yusuf Sununu Tanko ,President of the Commonwealth Medical Association and Past President Nigerian Medical Association; Dr. Osahon Enabulele , all Past Presidents of NMA , 2018-2020 NMA NOC led by Dr. Francis A. Faduyile, all the Chairmen of NMA State Branches& FCT , and the entirety of all Nigerian Doctors.
Prof. Innocent A. Ujah, mni Dr.Philips U.Ekpe
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