The Nigerian Medical Association, (NMA) has raised alarm over the declining immunization coverage in the country stressing that over 40 percent of children under five years of age are vulnerable and stand the risk of being infected by different diseases.
NMA National President, Professor Mike Ogirima, stated this in Ilorin on Monday while flagging-off the 2017 Physician weeks with theme: “Declining Immunization Coverage: Threat to National Development and Security, Way Forward”, ROYAL NEWS reports.
According to him, “The 2016/17 National immunization coverage survey indicates that only 33 percent of children 12-23 months of age had three doses of pentavalent vaccines against the global target of 90 percent and only 23 percent were fully immunized. 40 percent do not receive any vaccines from the health system.
“The implication of this is that a large population of our children particularly under five years of age are unprotected band are therefore at the risk of dying from vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria, pertusis, tuberculosis among others as well as infectious risk to other children on near and distant places. ”
Prof. Ogirima further said: “NMA demands an urgent restriction of maximum 40 units per month of extra call duty per any physician in any employment, our members henceforth will not work for 70hours and be paid only for 40hours in a month.
“The NMA shall soon present to the public and the government the Right ‘s of Doctors in accordance with the new Physician’s Pledge. Doctors are been envied by all in the health sector, however arms the government strives to give her citizens quality health care, the divine call to the art of medicine should not be polluted with rivalry and rush to equate paramedics with medical degree.
“The surge by JOHESU parents to seek admission for their wards to read medicine, the high cut-off marks to gain admission into medicine, the 292 weeks of tedious undergraduate training the appointment of MBBS holders as Lecturer II in the university system remain an injustice to medical doctors .”
He however condemned some medical doctors who use their working hours to attend to their private clinic stressing that NMA will sanction any practitioner found guilty or run foul of the ethics of the profession.
Ogirima also described diversion of patients from government hospital to private clinic emphasising that such act are duly caused by impatience of patients who are not always ready to wait for their turns.
The NMA boss therefore urged the federal government to fully operationalize the National Health Act, 2014 which made provision among others the pooling of not less than 1 percent of consolidated revenue as Basic Health Provision Fund (BHPF) to cater for their vulnerables.
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