The Nigerian Medical Association has urged politicians to guard their utterances so as to avoid a possible eruption of political violence and an attendant crisis that may be beyond the capacity of the health sector.
The NMA said this in a statement jointly signed by its President, Dr Francis Faduyile and Secretary-General, Dr Olumutiwa Odusote, on Thursday.
In the statement titled, ‘Nigeria’s healthcare system cannot accommodate mass casualties from political upheavals’, the association urged politicians to put national interest before theirs.
The statement read in part, “The NMA notes with deep concern certain developments in the political circles in Nigeria in recent times.
“Of note are the overtly inflammatory statements by top ranking political leaders, which have the potential to incense partisan conflicts that could degenerate into communal clashes and attendant mass casualties, thereby worsening the already cheerless level of insecurity and violent conflicts in the country.”
The NMA also said that due to years of poor funding, bad governance, poor service delivery and the dearth of medical personnel, Nigeria’s health sector was no longer as effective as it used to be.
It added, “Our worry is based on the fact that the country’s health system is still bedevilled by various incapacities ranging from chronic underfunding, poor governance and poor service delivery to the lack of political will to implement extant laws, regulations and policies.
“These have manifested in a poor health worker to population ratio with an escalated emigration of medical and health workers. Low carrying capacity of existing health facilities, absence of basic equipment, consumables, reagents, modern effective drugs and other tools needed to deliver efficient, effective, prompt and culturally acceptable medical care to the people, are also an issue.
The NMA urged politicians to engage their opponents through constructive criticisms and healthy debates devoid of bitterness.
It also advised Nigerians to be law abiding and to avoid being used by unscrupulous politicians as the elections draw closer.
The statement further read, “If by acts of omission or commission the nation is thrown into serious political chaos, the poor and vulnerable, including women and children, will bear the brunt.
“The NMA, therefore, calls on all politicians, political parties, aspirants to elective offices and other stakeholders to play by the rules while urging law enforcement agents to demonstrate unambiguous loyalty to their calling and the constitution of the country. They should be stringent in dealing with defaulters objectively and without let or hindrance.”