Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, has tasked physicians with preparedness for medical challenges and health emergencies.
Sani-Gwarzo said this on Wednesday in Enugu, while declaring open the 46th General and Scientific Meeting of West African College of Physicians, Nigeria Chapter.
The five-day meeting, which runs from July 26 to July 30, is themed: “Building a Resilient Health System: Addressing the Impact of Emerging and Re-emerging Pandemic.”
Sani-Gwarzo said that the meeting was envisaged to come out with learning, direction, and resolution for physicians meant to build a resilient health system that would easily absorb shocks or emergencies.
He said: “It is not only on medical health issues, we must prepare, but we also need to build resilience in tackling health emergencies that might be artificial or natural disasters.
“The health system must get prepared and it is only through a well-thought meeting and actionable clinical ideas are imperative to ensure that emerging and re-emerging pandemic and other health emergencies are checked.”
Sani-Gwarzo also urged physicians to make use of the ministry social register for their various research works and other scientific perimeter measurements.
“Nigeria through the ministry has the highest social register data bank and we should access it to enrich our scientific and research works,” he said.
In an address, Prof. Jeremiah Madaki, the Vice President of WACP (Nigeria), said that the Nigeria chapter of the college is the largest of the five founding chapters and remains the largest among the current 13 chapters.
According to him, our chapter has equally made the highest contribution in meeting the college objectives in the West Africa region.
“The college objectives include promotion of professional training of physicians in the West African region; promotion of standards of professional practice, ethics and morals of physicians; promoting health and healthcare in the region; determination of persons to be designated as specialist physicians.
“Given their training, qualifications, and experience; advising and assisting the governments of the region, West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) and other relevant organizations on the matters relating to training, healthcare, health promotion, and research.
“Cooperating with appropriate bodies that provide facilities for achieving the College objectives; and publication of books, journals and other scientific materials relevant and supportive to achieving the College objectives,” he said.
Madaki, also the National Chairman of the college, said that this year’s theme: “Building a Resilient Health System: Addressing the Impact of Emerging and Re-emerging Pandemics” had three other sub-themes.
“The sub-themes are Emerging Health Challenges in Fragile, Violent and Conflict Areas; Vaccine Hesitancy and Universal Health Coverage – Addressing the Impact; and Medical Brain-Drain in Nigeria, Halting and Reversing the Trend.
“These sub-themes were purposefully selected and crafted to capture and address the current health situation in Nigeria,” he said.
Prof. Taiwo Lateef, a Professor of Psychiatry, who delivered the Sir Samuel Manuwa Lecture, urged the government to take the issue of mental health of Nigerians seriously especially as they go through more uncertainties and difficulties.
“Effect of mental health is real and we must strive to take concrete actions to ensure the mental wellbeing of everybody around us is optimal and our people must take actions that ease stress,” Lateef said.
Speaking, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the meeting, Prof. Benjamin Uzochukwu, appreciated the board of trustees, the national officers, and the national executive of the council as well as elders of the profession for their guidance.
Uzochukwu said: “I want to specially recognize the tremendous support from the Enugu State Government and the dynamic leadership of the Executive Governor, His Excellency, Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi.
“We are grateful to the enormous support from the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, USAID-Breakthrough Action in Nigeria, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, among others.”