The newly-elected President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and current Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Medical Sciences, Otukpo in Benue State, Prof. Innocent Ujah, has clarified that the NMA is not a full-time job, as members of the public tend to believe, stressing that he is not the first to lead the body while still heading another organisation.
Speaking with journalists in Jos, Ujah vowed to work to improve health care in the country. On how he would go about this, Ujah told The Guardian at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, where as an alumnus, he was received by members of the alumni association in the state, that his administration would prioritise the welfare of Nigerian doctors, adding that he would lobby and advocate for improved remuneration and realistic hazard allowance for doctors in the country.
He added: “We shall continue to engage other health workers in order to improve inter-professional harmony within the health sector to understand each other and by seeking and pursuing common goals.”
While promising to leverage on the gains of his predecessors, he said collectively, they would open up new frontiers, ensure mutual beneficial collaborations and partnerships with government and other organisations to uphold the dignity and welfare of the Nigerian doctor, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.
Ujah, however, warned the federal government not to allow governors to take over the COVID-19 battle in the country, saying apart from Lagos and maybe one or two other states, the commitment is very disappointing, adding: “This is an emergency, coordination is very important and the coordination should be central.”
He urged the federal government to set up a research team to regularly evaluate the country’s response to COVID-19, saying doing so was important to enable the country ascertain what was working or not, make the necessary impact in its COVID-19 response.
“We need a research team that would monitor regularly. The response must be evaluated by the research team. If you say we should wear a face mask, what is the percentage of Nigerians wearing masks in Plateau? We don’t have social distancing as far as I am concerned.”
Speaking earlier, the state NMA Chairman, Dr. Titus Dajel, felicitated with Ujah, describing him as a distinguished medical scholar and outstanding patriot.