October 30, (THEWILL) – The Nigeria Medical Association has advised the Cross River State government to modify its primary Healthcare Services to ensure efficiency.
The state chairman of the NMA, Dr. Felix Archibong, gave the advice in Calabar while speaking on the challenges of healthcare delivery at the primary level in the state.
The NMA Chair said the state government should adopt the Primary Medical Care method introduced by Prof Ransome Kuti and adopted by the Lagos State government.
He said this model allows the PHCs at the primary level to be headed by a doctor who will cater for patients at that centre.
In this model, the respective Local Government Councils will pay these doctors as the PHC is the constitutional responsibility of Local Government Councils.
He added that this will check the menace, where patients will have to travel several kilometres from the local government areas to come and see a medical doctor in Calabar, the state capital.
“There should be doctors employed by the state government to attend to patients at that level.
“This helps to discourage patients from going to tertiary institutions like what happens in Calabar, where patients with minor ailments like malaria move to Teaching Hospital. That is not supposed to be the design in today’s world.
“What ought to be is for health services to be taken to the people, which is at the primary health centres.
“To the best of my knowledge, I doubt that in Cross River State the primary healthcare agency has doctors working at healthcare centres.
“That has created a lacuna where people have to travel a very long distance to the cities where we have general hospitals or private clinics for treatment. This creates a lot of delays before patients can access medical attention.
“If we had adopted the modified Primary Medical Care where doctors are available there would have been no need to travel from Obanliku to Calabar for seven hours, for instance.
“So such cases would have been handled at that level without the hassles of travelling a long distance to look for a doctor.
“Cross River State should revisit their Primary Healthcare and see how they can modify it.”
The NMA Chairman also explained that lack of proper remuneration discourages doctors from working in local communities.
He also advised the government to emplace better incentives at the local level to attract health workers to come with their families, live and work in our PHCs at this level.