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A better health policy will improve health care delivery in Nigeria – Dr Izunwa

Dr Izunwa Osita Edmund is president of Association of Resident Doctors , Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State . The Association held her medical week yesterday during which she visited the less privileged , organized football matches, among others. In this interview with AMAECHI PERCY ONYEJEKWE, Izunwa spoke on a number of issues affecting heath care delivery system in the country. Excerpts

You have just held your medical week . Explain more on that.
What we did was our annual ARD week otherwise termed ‘Health Week’. It is a time when members of the association come together to go beyond the practice of medicine; to go beyond seeing patients and actually experience ourselves in various dimensions. We visit the motherless ,homes, the homeless. We also engage in prayer session and a host of other things including lectures.
What do you intend to achieve by this?
Well, by this we achieve so many things. One is that it is actually a forum whereby we ease ourselves from the tension of the hard work after one year. We engage in sporting activities in promoting health because, as doctors, people look upon us and and on to us , by so doing, trying to do these exercises people would also learn and know the importance of these. We also know that actually going all out to help the needy, the motherless, the homeless and also trying to visit the people with debilitations, is also a way of showing appreciation to God who appointed us to this profession because this is actually a calling to be a medical doctor ; we use it appreciate God and we finally cap it up with thanks giving service which is also a time when every body gather to thank God.
Do you see this year’s ARD week as a success?
We had very interesting lectures from erudite personalities from which we gained so much. The kind of lectures we had actually took us beyond the confines of medical practice. The Theme is ‘The pursuit of Excellence in the Changing Climes of Medicine’ that actually took us beyond ‘I and my patient’ but also exposed us to other avenues and things surrounding the practice of medicine.
What challenges face the Resident Doctors (RDs) as medical practitioners in the country?
Challenges is part of every existence. So anything that exists is bound to have challenges. NARD as an association is bound to have challenges, and when the going gets tough only the tough gets going. So what I want to say is that the challenges come , yes, maybe the health policies in the country; the way the health sector is being politicized. That is actually a major problem and we say ‘no’, that we will live to beat these challenges. The way the health sector is being politicized is a big challenge.
To your thinking, does government policies favour medical practice in the country?
Well , the policies by the government , I believe is our policies whether we are the people that made it or not. But since it is governing policy, it is our policy. What we are doing now is not criticizing the policies of the nation but actually trying to make an input towards making the policies better trying to be of assistance, and also trying to accommodate ourselves within the existing policy.
In what areas would you want government to improve on its health policies to favour the medical profession, in fact , the healthcare delivery system in the country?
Yes I am actually happy with what you have just said, the health care delivery. In fact the quagmire, the stalemate we are having in the health sector now is not resolved. Talking about any other thing as RD is concerned makes no sense. The primary thing is going back to the foundation to resolve this conflict between the different groups in the medical practice. Resolving this conflict that actually induces strike every time . That is the first step in the right direction.
What are the conflicting issues?
No, no no, no. It is actually broad. It is broad. There are gamount of things that are bringing this diversity. There is a committee set up by the federal government that solely looks into these differences .So these differences are established and I don’t want to politick on them. I don’t want to talk about them now but I think that the Federal government have actually formed a committee that is looking into these issues so let our first step be to resolving these issues .
Here in NAUTH do you feel comfortable doing your job as medical practitioner?
I think I will say yes. Yes. Challenges are bound to come but I don’t think there is anything extraordinary or out of ordinary happening in NAUTH. I feel that It is also a place that needs improvement as in so many other centres in Nigeria. So I think we are making do with what we have hoping on the improvement.

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