As preparations to the burial ceremony of the late former Minister of Information and Communications and Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Dora Akunyili, enter its final stage, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has described as pathetic the diagnostic recommendations made by the United States medical doctors.
NMA President, Dr. Lawrence Obembe, while addressing journalists on the issue, said: “It is very pathetic; diagnosis was carried out on Akunyili in Nigeria but like everything in Nigeria, they said go and confirm in the US or UK, There, they said there was nothing wrong with her, but now it is a different story,” Obembe stated.
He said: “This is why we have been advocating that every Nigerian should have a medical doctor; through health insurance and community health coverage, we can prevent such cases from happening,” Obembe observed.
The NMA president bemoaned the distrust of medical doctors in the country by Nigerians, warning that time had come for confidence to be restored on the services rendered by Nigerian medical doctors in order to stem the tide of Nigerians dying abroad.
Also speaking, the President of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Jubril Abdullahi, told THISDAY that had the advice by the Nigerian medical team that monitored Akunyili been taken and the operation recommended carried out, the former NAFDAC DG’s life would have been saved.
Abdullahi informed THISDAY that “once a cancerous item is found, be it ovarian or any other form of cancer, the best thing to do is carry out operation, it is my believe that if this surgery and operation was carried out, she would have survived it,” the NARD president maintained.
The late Akunyili whose body arrived the National Hospital, Abuja Wednesday was believed to have been misguided by the US doctors who ignored previous diagnosis and recommendations from Nigerian medical doctors of a possible cancer infection.
The revelation had led to condemnations by medical and health experts in Nigeria, who believe that distrust of medical doctors among Nigerians seems to be fuelling medical tourism outside the country, thereby derailing the nation’s health sector and worsening the health of most Nigerians as witnessed in recent times.
Her death also opens the door for questioning the efficacy of foreign medical treatment at the expense of undergoing medical attention in Nigeria.
To this end, the NMA said the best way to stop the recurring trend was to ensure that deepen the implementation of universal health coverage for all, stating that, extending health insurance to just 30 per cent would not do the magic needed to turn around the worsening situation in Nigeria’s healthcare sector. “Health insurance for all remains the key to preventing future recurrence,” the NMA said.