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Exit of pharmaceutical companies cause of drug shortage, job loss -NMA

Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has expressed concerns over the exit of pharmaceutical
companies from Nigeria, saying this has resulted in drug shortages in the country.

The newly elected NMA Chairman, Prof. Bala Audu, said this in Abuja on Wednesday during a media conference to mark the end of the 64th Annual General Conference/Delegates Meeting held in Cross River recently.

Audu said that the exit of major pharmaceutical companies caused geometric increase in prices of drugs and job losses, adding that the exodus had raised serious concerns about the future of access to essential medicines by Nigerians.

He appealed to government to take urgent actions to mitigate the impact of the exit of the companies by creating friendly business environment, as well as make adequate investment in the domestic pharmaceutical and other companies.

He also said that the conference reviewed the level of progress made in clearing backlog of salary arrears, implementation of the new hazard allowance, as well as the implementation of revised Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) of medical doctors and other health workers.

He said that the conference was impressed with the various interventions of the Executive Governors of Ekiti, Rivers, and Ebonyi states.

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Bala said that the conference also noted the level of progress made by other governors in clearing backlog of unpaid salaries and improving the wages of doctors and other health workers in their states.

He added that the conference noted the increasing number of quacks apprehended over the past few months, adding that “quackery had brought untold hardships to many Nigerians in terms of attendant complications with deadly outcomes.”

He said that the conference deliberated on various recommendations proposed for amendments in the NMA constitution.

The chairman said that the conference urged government at all levels to, as a matter of urgency, prioritise, and show more commitment to healthcare funding, as it would enable payment of better and competitive wages.

He said that government commitment to funding healthcare would bring about improved working conditions and create enabling environment for medical practice.

He noted that “there is also a pressing need to improve security within and around health facilities, improve access to social amenities and provide increased opportunities for doctors. These are critical interventions necessary to reverse the on-going brain drain.

“The conference also resolved that the introduction of Euthanasia in medical practice in Nigeria requires careful considerations because of ethical, legal, religious, social and cultural diversities.

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“However, as at now, euthanasia in whatever form is illegal and punishable by the provision of the Section 306 of Criminal Code of Nigeria.

“The conference urges government at all levels to prioritise the health and well-being of Nigerians by rolling out robust palliatives, and other social intervention strategies to cushion hunger and harsh economic conditions in the country.”

He also called on government and security agencies to effectively check security lapses, kidnapping
and banditry, as well as ensure the safe release of all health workers in captivity.(NAN)

Aderogba George/Folasade Akpan
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