Physicians in the private and public sectors in Lagos State have urged the gubernatorial candidates in the state to prioritise health security in their development agenda.
The physicians also advised the guber candidates to increase budgetary allocation to health and also help end the health workers’ brain drain in the state.
The doctors made the call at a forum organised by a non-governmental organisation, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator in collaboration with Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development.
Speaking at the occasion, Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Benjamin Olowojebutu, said it is important for the government to pay more attention to health infrastructure, health security, and health indices.
“There must be adequate budgeting for healthcare. We have the Abuja declaration where it was agreed that 15 per cent of the budget should go to healthcare. That should be very significant in Lagos State so that we have proper primary healthcare that is well-funded.
“If we have proper primary healthcare, our secondary and tertiary care will not be overburdened. We must invest in our health insurance scheme. We must criminalise quackery in the state,” he said.
Also, the Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Makinde Akinlemibola, urged the state government to involve private medical practitioners in its policy formulation.
Akinlemibola said, “We need to have a robust health reform to retain our doctors. 70 per cent of Lagosians patronise private healthcare practitioners and the population of Lagos is increasing by a second.
“We should put in place laws and reforms that will reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. We cannot use e fire brigade approach to take care of health.
“We need to be proactive. We need security for our doctors and all our health workers. The environment must be conducive and remuneration is important. Patients also require a conducive environment.”
On his part, Medical Guild chairman, Dr. Sa’eid Ahmad said the governorship candidates in the state must prioritise healthcare financing.
He stated that budgetary allocation to health must meet the World Health Organisation’s minimum of 15 per cent.
Project Director of, Prevent Epidemic Project, Dr. Garfa Alawode, said the meeting was to encourage candidates to prioritise health in their development agenda.
“This engagement helps us to deepen the understanding of the political class and other stakeholders on the health security gaps and acquaint them with available strategic policy options for strengthening the health and health security legal, policy, and financing landscape in Lagos state,” he said.