The Nigeria Medical Association has called on the Federal Government to provide more funding for the health sector so that the doctors and hospitals would have enough resources to take care of their patients.

The association made the call through its President, Dr Francis Faduyile, during a one-day patient safety dialogue held last Wednesday at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ikeja, Lagos.

Faduyile, who was the keynote speaker at the event, noted that the Federal Government’s budget for the health sector had never exceeded 5.6 per cent since the World Health Organisation advised that its member states should make their health budgets 15 per cent.

Speaking on the safety of patients, he stressed that the government, medical practitioners and patients had important roles to play in health care delivery.

He said, “The government must support the Health Insurance Scheme as out-of- pocket payment will not take us anywhere. We need to also encourage our medical practitioners to show more empathy and be more professional.

“Most importantly, patients need to know that self-medication is wrong and it is one of the causes of medical mishaps.”

Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State on Health, Dr. Sola Pitan, noted that a safe health care system is needed before talking about the safety of patients.

Pitan said it was important for health care professionals to remember they swore an oath to ‘do no harm’ as this would help them to discharge their duties to the best of their abilities.

On the rights of patients, Pitan said that when patients know their rights and demand for the right thing, the much-needed change would occur in the health system.

The convener of the dialogue, Mr Ehi Iden, who is also the regional chair, Patient Safety Movement, West Africa, said the dialogue became necessary to bring the stakeholders in the health sector to discuss issues related to the safety of patients within the circle of care.

“People go to hospitals to access health care and they die due to medical errors. Yet, nothing happens except on the pages of newspapers. Now what we have here today is that all the stakeholders within the health sector are to teach patients how to be confident again to go to the hospital without fear,” Iden said.

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