Nigeria’s former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has described health workers’ achievements as legendary and daring in Nigeria’s battle for survival and economic stability as the covid pandemic threatens healthcare systems around the world.
Dr Jonathan who spoke as the keynote speaker at the Nigerian Medical Association’s (NMA) Physician’s Week opening event in Uyo on Tuesday said: “Health workers resilience, sacrifice and patriotism will always be remembered when the war is finally won. Before the total victory, I think it is proper to give honour to all medical professionals who have been in the frontline of the struggle to end this pandemic, making relentless sacrifices for our collective peace and safety. Some have paid the supreme sacrifice for us.”
According to the former president, healthcare workers’ dedication is worthy of praise because they have contributed to nation-building and added value to our national security. He believes that unless our health system is strengthened, we will not be able to create the workforce essential to sustain Nigeria’s growth and economic progress.
Recall Jonathan while in the saddle as Nigeria’s president, signed the National Health Bill into law in 2014, with a focus on health financing surveillance and data management.
While praising the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) for calling off their strike, the former president urged all parties involved to take action.
President Jonathan stated in his presentation that his biggest wish was for all Nigerians to be covered by a functional Health Insurance Scheme that would allow them to receive high-quality healthcare without incurring financial hardship. He also urged Nigerian medical specialists to follow the worldwide trend of developing vaccinations for diseases other than COVID.
The commissioning of the NMA secretariat, named after Dr Edmundson Akpabio, the first Akwa Ibom doctor to serve as NMA national president, preceded the inauguration event. In 1985, Dr Akpabio was imprisoned by General Muhammed Buhari’s military administration for fighting for the betterment of medical professionals’ welfare and health care.
Dr Ime Udoh, the Akwa Ibom State NMA leadership, chose to honour Dr. Akpabio by naming the newly built Secretariat complex after him, 35 years later. In 1972, the 86-year-old native of Onna LGA built Mfon-Abasi Medical Centre, uyo, the first private medical facility in what is now Akwa Ibom.
Dr. Akpabio was physically elated to attend the NMA national event in Uyo as he expressed his excitement and ambitions to mentor the future generation of Akwa Ibom doctors as the NMA’s national president.
In response to the manufacture of malaria vaccines, Akpabio claims that his 60 years of medical practice has convinced him that God has given Africans some amount of immunity against malaria and COVID.