Chairman’s Speech (Physicians Week)



On behalf of the State Officers Committee (SOC), the State Executive Committee (SEC) and the entire members of the NMA Bayelsa State, I welcome you to the Opening ceremony of the 2017 Physicians’ week.
The Physicians’ Week is an annual event of Nigerian Medical Association. It is a week-long activity during which we review the events of the health sector during past twelve calendar months. We also use the period to celebrate our patients, ourselves and critically appraise the performance of the health sector with the various indices of evaluation. The theme for 2017 Physicians’ Week celebration is; “Declining Immunization Coverage: Threat to National Development and Security; Way Forward”.

The celebration of 2017 Physicians’ Week calls for sober reflection on the declining immunization coverage in our dear country. The 2016/2017 National immunization coverage survey (NICS) indicates that only 33% of children 12-23 months of age had 3 doses of pentavalent vaccine against the global target of 90% and only 23% were fully immunized. Forty percent (40%) do not receive any vaccines from the health system. The implication of this finding is that a large population of our children particularly under 5 years of age are unprotected and are therefore at the risk of dying from vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria, pertusis, tuberculosis etc. This scaring statistics is unacceptable to the Nigerian doctors. It is a great danger and threat to the survival of our great Nation as no meaningful development can take place in a society where disease and death is ravaging the potential leaders and our hopes of tomorrow. We must reverse this ugly trend as soon as possible; there is no time to waste. We want to use this opportunity to re-echo the call on the Federal and State Governments to fully operationalise the National Health Act, 2014 which made provisions among others the pooling of not less than 1% of consolidated revenue as Basic Health Provision Fund(BHPF) to cater for the vulnerables.

We appreciate the resuscitation of Health insurance scheme by the State Government and call for strengthening of the health facilities in terms of upgrade of infrastructure and manpower. Bayelsa State lacks both a Dental Hospital and a Psychiatric Hospital and the establishment of both will go a long way in the dental and mental healthcare delivery. We also appreciate the employment of doctors.

Yesterday, we had a Road walk from the FMC Yenagoa to the Swali Market to sensitise the public on the importance of immunisation, especially in this period of misinformation about forceful vaccinations. We will carry out a Medical Outreach tomorrow at Ogbia Main Town as part of our continuous corporate social responsibility. The week also has sporting activities from football, tennis, table tennis, badminton, draughts and chess.

We salute our members for their patriotic and dedicated devotion to their Nation, profession and patients despite all odds.
Thank you for gracing this occasion.
Long live NMA Bayelsa State!
Long live the Medical Profession!
Long live Bayelsa State!
Long live Nigeria!

Dr. Keme Pondei

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