Dr Romanus Egwuatu is the medical director of Regal Homeopathic Clinic, Enugu. He holds a postgraduate degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine and a Doctor of Medicine in Homeopathy from the International Open University, Golgotha, Greece. He also holds a degree in Medical Laboratory Science from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Nigeria. In this exclusive interview with Pharmanews, he speaks on issues concerning his profession in Nigeria and how government can make the health sector perform at optimal levels. Excerpts:
What would you say has been the greatest achievement you have recorded as a medical practitioner?
It is difficult to list my achievements. There are so many things I have achieved in my practice. I have achieved great recoveries with patients suffering from chronic medical issues, ranging from psychiatric cases, morbid anatomical issues, infertility issues, dermatological issues and so on. One of my biggest highpoints is in the area of psychiatry. I have recorded tremendous success managing psychiatric patients through the application of alternative medical care.
What is your assessment of the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria?
My sincere assessment of the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria is that it is abysmal and very poor, just as it is in many other sectors. The politicians have hijacked almost every aspect of our national life and have left things in a state of disarray because they lack the expertise to oversee these crucial areas.
Almost every sector in the country is suffering one form of negatively or the other. And this is because the wrong people are allowed to control the system. This scenario has led to corruption and maladministration.
Would you say the Nigerian government has been responding well in managing the coronavirus pandemic in the country?
The Nigerian government has not been responding in that regard at all. We are supposed to have a government for the people and by the people. So the yearnings and aspirations of the people should be the first concern. Manage the people well and the people will manage the pandemic situation well. The virus is actually not the only thing killing the people but hunger, economic issues, total anarchy and insecurity in the country.
What do you consider the most nagging issues government needs to address in the Nigerian health sector?
The most nagging issue in the health sector, for me, is segregation. Some people believe that they are the most important in the health sector. The truth remains that every professional in the health sector is important for effective healthcare delivery. This issue of hierarchy and segregation among health professionals is the most dangerous cankerworm that is destroying the system in Nigeria.
Nigerian health workers are often embarking on strike action. Why do you think this is always happening?
Well, industrial action is good when applied for the right purpose and carried out in the right way. If you look into the reasons for most of the industrial actions medical doctors and other healthcare givers embark on, you will understand their plight and definitely blame the government.
Politicians in the country, whose jobs are not listed in the essential duties list are enjoying the best things life can offer, while those saving lives are abandoned. Many doctors are struggling to live well. Government and politicians are our problem.
What are your candid thoughts about the National Health Insurance Scheme? Do you think it is working as conceived?
The National Health Insurance Scheme is not working as conceived. The reasons are not far-fetched. Bad governance and corrupt politicians are influencing the scheme. And when you don’t have square pegs in square holes, the system will continue to malfunction due to corruption and other bad policies. The end product will always be bad results.
What message do you have for government at all levels concerning the healthcare delivery system in the country?
My message to government at all levels, with regard to healthcare delivery system is, first, they should know that health is the paramount factor in life. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Social projects are secondary to life.
Government should also ensure that other aspects of Medicine, especially, alternative medicine, are integrated into medical practice. This will give the practice a holistic outlook. This has been the culture in many developed and developing countries of the world.
And as a matter of national urgency, we must not allow politicians corrupt the system. Let us allow professionals to handle the sector and our country will be a better place health-wise.