ANPA PARTICIPANTS: Dr. Johnson Adeyanju (ANPA President)
Dr. Charmaine Emelife (ANPA President-elect)
Dr. Christopher Okunseri (ANPA Treasurer)
Dr. Clifford Eke (Chair, Medical Missions’ Committee)
Dr. Jide Bamigboye (Chair, ANPA’s Disease Intervention and Prevention Team aka ADIPT)
Dr. Abraham Osinbowale (Chair, ANPA’s Advocacy Committee)
Dr. Uzoma Chukwu (Central California Chapter)
ANPA’s core advocacy team arrived in Abuja in the morning of Wednesday, March 28, 2018, on a direct flight from Enugu after completing the 2018 medical mission at Enugwu-Ukwu and Awka from March 22-27, 2018.
MEETING WITH HON. ABIKE DABIRI-EREWA, SAS TO THE PRESIDENT ON DIASPORA AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS, MARCH 28, 2018, 2:15 PM
Location: Diaspora Office, Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
The meeting started at 2:15 pm with the introduction of members of ANPA team to Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa by ANPA’s President, Dr. johnson Adeyanju after thanking her for the kind reception accorded ANPA during the 2017 ANPA Week and continuous cooperation between ANPA and the Diaspora Office on the newly formed Diaspora Professionals Healthcare Initiative (DPHI) which emanated from ideas generated by the Diaspora Office and the Health Minister as a joint program with participation from ANPA ( Association of Nigeria Physicians and Dentists in the Americas), MANSAG (Association of Nigerian Physicians in the United Kingdom), CANPAD (Canadian Association of Nigerian Physicians and Dentists), NMA-Germany (Association of Nigerian Physicians in Germany), NNANA (Nigerian Nurses Association in North America), NNCA-UK (Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association in the United Kingdom). The SSA was later briefed by Dr. Cliff Eke ( Chair, Medical Missions) on the accomplishments of the 2018 medical mission which will be fully reported by his committee. The SSA commended ANPA and implored the association to continue the good job they are doing. Dr. Charmaine Emelife (President-elect) asked the SSA if the Diaspora Office can better facilitate the annual ANPA Week by helping with accommodation and transportation. The SSA stated that the Diaspora Office may not be able to finance the cost of accommodation and transportation but they can formally structure an arrangement/partnership with corporate sponsors, NGOs and State Governments at the sites where the medical missions will be taking place. The President-elect and the Diaspora office will explore this option further for subsequent ANPA Weeks. The SSA also introduced the ANPA team to Honorable Timothy E. McPherson, Jr. (Minister of Finance and Maroon Secretariat), Sovereign State of Accompong, Jamaica, West Indies, who was visiting Nigeria and also looking at opportunities in financing humanitarian services in developing countries (similar to what ANPA is doing) at the time of our courtesy call to the Diaspora Office. The President-elect will explore this option further with Hon. McPherson. The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 pm.
MEETING WITH PROFESSOR MIKE OGIRIMA, NMA PRESIDENT, MARCH 28, 2018, 5:00 PM
Location: NMA Headquarters, Abuja
The meeting started at 5:00 pm with Professor Ogirima welcoming the ANPA team to the NMA Headquarters after thanking Dr. Adeyanju and his team for the kind reception accorded him during ANPA’s 2017 Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. He stated that he had forty-two days left to vacate the presidency of NMA and that contestants are presently busy campaigning for various offices for the upcoming NMA elections. He said for the first time in the history of NMA, the Immediate Past President and Secretary will be part of the newly elected executive as ex-officio members to ensure continuity of ideas/programs. He credited ANPA for the new initiative AMA is implementing. He reiterated his support for the DPHI of which NMA is a partner and stakeholder on the ground in Nigeria to facilitate cross fertilization of professional ideas, collaboration and continuity of care. The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 pm.
The first day of advocacy meetings was concluded with dinner, courtesy of Dr. Chinyere Anyaogu’s (Chair, Membership Committee) sister and her family who were very gracious in welcoming us to their lovely home in Abuja.
MEETING WITH DR. HENRY (HEAD OF REGISTRATION, MDCN) AND MR. JAYEOLA OREOLUWA, MARCH 29, 2018, 8:00 AM
Location: MDCN Office, Abuja
The meeting started at 8:00 am with Dr. Henry and Mr. Oreoluwa representing the MDCN Registrar, Dr. T.A.B. Sanusi, who was unavoidably absent. Dr. Johnson Adeyanju (ANPA President) introduced the members of ANPA team to the MDCN staff and then went through a litany of problems faced by ANPA members during renewal of their Nigerian medical licenses. He brought up the issue of the 2013 waiver where all charges prior to 2013 were to be waived for all diasporan physicians and dentists and payments will be made for subsequent years. For those who are registering anew, they will need to meet the MDCN requirements for registration. He gave the example of ANPA’s past President, Dr. Michael Etomi who actually negotiated the waiver during his tenure and had actually renewed his license for 2013 and 2014 and was willing to pay for subsequent years when he came to Nigeria in 2017 but was charged for penalties dating back to 1989 totaling over one million naira in penalties! Dr. Henry and Mr. Oreoluwa said they were not aware of the waiver and that they will discuss further with MDCN Registrar, Dr. Sanusi. The President-elect also showed the MDCN staff the problems she had been encountering in renewing her license online through MDCN’s website as instructed but the system never gave her the password with which to proceed within 48 hours as stated in the online instructions. Mr. Oreoluwa and Dr. Henry promised to look into the problems and distributed the instructions on registering online through the MDCN portal to the ANPA members present at the meeting. They stated that registration is now only to be done online and that medical licenses can now be printed directly after online renewal. Dr. Henry and Mr. Oreoluwa reassured the ANPA team that all our concerns will be discussed with the MDCN Registrar and that if there should be any problems with online registration through MDCN portal, those problems should be brought to their attention and they will help. The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 am.
MEETING WITH PROFESSOR CHIEDU MAFIANA (DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, NUC) AND NUC STAFF, 10:15 AM
Location: NUC, Abuja
Dr. Johnson Adeyanju (ANPA President) introduced ANPA’s team to Professor Mafiana (representing Professor Abubakar Rasheed, NUC’s Executive Secretary) and the NUC staff after thanking Professor Rasheed and NUC for their kind reception during the 2017 ANPA Week. He wanted to know the status of the Medical School curriculum and the “Culture of Care” documents submitted to the Executive Secretary after the last meeting with NUC. He followed up by stating that from information obtained from the Provost of Ibadan’s Medical School, the curriculum has been implemented at the University of Ibadan Medical School since 2012 and the first set of graduates trained under the new curriculum graduated in 2017 and are now starting residency. Professor Mafiana apologized on behalf of the Executive Secretary who was unavoidably absent and stated that he would be fully briefed on the outcome of the meeting. He introduced the NUC team to ANPA members present and acknowledged receiving the copy of the curriculum which was sent to him electronically overnight by ANPA’s President-elect. He called on Dr. S.B. Ramon-Yusuf, Director, Research Innovation and Information Technology, who was present at the previous ANPA/NUC meeting to give an update on the discussions between ANPA and NUC. The issue of MDCN and NUC in the determination of Medical School curriculum development was thoroughly discussed and ANPA team urged the two agencies to work together in the best interest of medical education in the country with ANPA President reiterating the reason he submitted the curriculum to NUC, MDCN and the Minister of Health. He urged NUC to obtain feedback from the University of Ibadan Medical School on their experience with the new curriculum with a view to sharing the information on a national basis as a template for uniform medical education in the country. He stressed the importance of the quality of medical education translating into the quality of healthcare delivery and reminded everyone present that we all came into this world as patients and we will leave this world as patients. Professor Mafiana and his colleagues reassured ANPA team that all the agencies will work together on the path forward. He advised that ANPA should include Dr. Gidado Kumo (Director of Academic Planning) and Dr. Sam Adejoh (Deputy Director, Undergraduate curriculum) in future communications with NUC to ensure a robust input from NUC. Dr. Adeyanju asked about the document on the “Culture of Care” which he also submitted to the Executive Secretary. Professor Mafiana stated that he does not have the document. Dr. Adeyanju sent him a copy of the document electronically while the meeting was being concluded. The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 am.
MEETING WITH THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH, MR. OSARENOMA CLEMENT UWAIFO AND DR. BOLA OLOWU, DIRECTOR, PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP AND DIASPORA DESK, FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH, MARCH 29, 2018, 11:20 AM
Location: The Permanent Secretary’s Conference Room, Federal Ministry of Health
The meeting started at 11:20 am with the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Osarenoma Clement Uwaifo and Dr. Bola Olowu, Director, Public/Private Partnership and Diaspora Desk, Federal Ministry of Health representing the Health Minister who was unavoidably absent due to other official duties. ANPA President, Dr. Adeyanju, introduced the ANPA team to the Permanent Secretary. He then talked extensively about the Diaspora Professional Healthcare Initiative (DPHI) emanating from the combination of the Health Minister’s 11/1 program and Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s (Diaspora Office at the Presidency) Prime and Pride program and which is now set up on the advice of the Health Minister and Ministry of Health. The DPHI comprises members of ANPA, MANSAG, CANPAD, NMA-Germany, Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America and Association of Nigerian Nurses in the United Kingdom. He stated that he sent a DPHI framework compiled and signed by representatives of the involved associations after various global meetings (by skype) of these representatives to the Minister of Health more than three months ago and that the representatives were still waiting for the Minister’s feedback and directives on next steps. He also stated that members of ANPA and the other organizations involved have also been asking him and their representatives on the DPHI Committee about the Health Minister’s pronouncement on the framework sent months ago and that he would appreciate a pronouncement from the Health Minister on the path forward. He briefed the Permanent Secretary about ANPA’s earlier meeting today with NUC on the Medical School curriculum which was submitted to the Health Minister, MDCN and NUC and that from his discussions with the Provost, University of Ibadan Medical School, Ibadan has implemented the new curriculum and the first set of graduates were produced in 2017 and are now in their first year of residency. He reiterated the need for the Minister, MDCN and NUC to work together and obtain further information from Ibadan on the utility of the new curriculum nationally, if possible. He talked about the difficulty encountered in clearing ANPA members’ luggages containing devices and medications for the medical mission at the Enugu International Airport but that the problem was finally resolved. He would like the Ministry’s help for smoother clearance in the future. Dr. Cliff Eke (Chair, Medical Missions’ Committee) then briefed the Permanent Secretary about the 2018 ANPA Medical Mission in Anambra State. The Permanent Secretary commended ANPA’s efforts and implored ANPA to continue the good work they are doing. He promised to convey all ANPA’s concerns to the Health Minister and to ensure that the 2013 waiver granted to physicians and dentists in the diaspora is firm and implemented. He attributed the problem of lack of implementation to the change of guards at MDCN. Dr. Bola Olowu also confirmed the 2013 waiver program. The meeting was adjourned at 12:20 pm.
MEETING WITH DR. CHIKWE IHEKWEAZU, CEO OF NCDC, ABUJA, MARCH 29, 2018, 12:40 PM
Location: NCDC Office, Abuja
The meeting started at 12:40 pm with introductions between ANPA team and Dr. Ihekweazu. ANPA President, Dr. Adeyanju, briefed Dr. Ihekweazu about the formation of an ANPA subcommittee on Infectious Diseases in response to Dr. Ihekweazu’s charge to ANPA about mentoring young physicians/Youth Corps members serving in NCDC. This subcommittee is headed by Dr. Adefuye and they have submitted an outline on Intent of Collaboration with NCDC which Dr. Adeyanju briefly went through. Dr. Ihekweazu promised to review the document and respond to the Letter of Intent from the subcommittee so he can fashion out areas of cooperation between ANPA and NCDC. He discussed the activities of NCDC in the recent Lassa fever outbreak in the country and strategies the NCDC is employing in dealing with the epidemic in terms of case identification, vector control, prevention and surveillance. He stated that in the absence of a vaccine, the NCDC is actively working in concert with the US CDC and other organizations in the areas of research in identifying pockets of possible outbreaks and any assistance ANPA members who are active in academia in Infectious Diseases can render will be quite welcome. He later gave us a tour of NCDC’s facilities and introduced us to his scientists/researchers.
MEETING WITH HON. CHIKE OKAFOR, CHAIR OF HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, MARCH 29, 2018, 3:00 PM
Location: Room 3.04, New Building, House of Representatives, National Assembly, Abuja
Present: Hon. Chike Okafor (Chair, House Committee on Health)
Amarachi Iheonunekwu (PA to Hon. Chike Okafor)
Dr. Johnny Onyeokoro (Medical Adviser to Hon. Chike Okafor)
ANPA Team led by Dr. Johnson Adeyanju (ANPA President)
Dr. Johnson Adeyanju, ANPA President thanked the Honorable Chairman for meeting with the ANPA team and then went on to introduce members of ANPA’s team to the Hon. Chike Okafor and his team. He gave a brief overview of ANPA’s Vision of “a healthier Nigeria in a healthier world” and ANPA’s medical mission to Nigeria. He stated the goal of ANPA in seeking cooperation with the National Assembly in supporting regulations for allocation of more funds and resources to healthcare in line with the Abuja Convention and Declaration of 2001 where 15% was agreed as the amount to be allocated to healthcare in the budget. He also sought the support of the Honorable Chair and the House of Representatives in passing the Diaspora Bill which is presently at the National Assembly. He then went on to talk about DPHI as a tool to help in capacity building in the health sector in Nigeria with the active collaboration and involvement of health professionals in the diaspora working actively with health professionals on the ground in Nigeria. Finally, he asked for the support and collaboration of House Health Committee members in fulfilling the objectives of ANPA in Nigeria by helping to improve access to healthcare in their various communities and local government areas. The Honorable Chair responded by thanking ANPA for the good job ANPA is doing. He then discussed what he has been doing in the three local government areas he is representing in Imo State in terms of medical mission in collaboration with local physicians and nurses. He stated that he has rehabilitated most of the Primary Health Centers (PHCs) in each of the three local government areas by adopting one or two PHCs at a time on a staged basis and upgrading the facilities in each PHC. He stated that he received the support of UNICEF and other NGOs after these organizations had done their due diligence and confirmed the benefits accruing to the inhabitants of these local government areas. He stated that his health outreach programs have been able to avail the people living in the affected three local government areas considerable access to primary healthcare. He also stated that working with local physicians and surgeons with the help of his Medical Adviser, Dr. Johnny Onyeokoro, his medical missions were able to operate on many cases in the regional hospitals and he does these medical missions on a continual basis. He stated that based on his experience and the success of his missions in Imo State, another member of the House Committee from Kaduna State was able to stage a medical mission to his local government area in Kaduna State. He stated there are 37 members in the House Committee on Health spread all over Nigeria and his goal is to encourage each representative to adopt his method in their local government, upgrade the PHCs in their local government and create better accessibility to healthcare throughout the country. He enjoined ANPA to reach out to the 37 members of his Committee who are nationwide representatives of the people in creating and enabling quality healthcare to the people of Nigeria. He confirmed the 15% budgetary allocation recommended by the 2001 Abuja Declaration but that Nigeria is now at 5 to 6 % and it may be up to 8% in this year’s budget. He stated that with the addition of the contemplated Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the 2018 budget, healthcare funding may go up to 21%. He stated that the Diaspora Bill is now in the Senate and once it is passed by the Senate, it will move to the House of Representatives and it will surely be passed by the House also once it passes in the Senate. He said he was learning about the DPHI for the first time but he is supportive of the idea and he would avail himself of the opportunity to know more about the program. ANPA President and President-elect promised to follow-up on the medical outreach and collaboration with the 37 members of the House Health Committee through Honorable Okafor’s office. Dr. Jide Bamigboye (Chair, ADIPT) brought up the case of a 10-year old boy who needed neurosurgical attention but could not be done because his parents brought him at the conclusion of ANPA’s medical mission and his parents could not afford the hospital costs. He wondered if the Honorable Chair can help him through one of his medical/surgical missions. The Honorable Chair promised to follow-up on the case if the details are made available to him. The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 pm.
We concluded our advocacy assignment with a courtesy visit and dinner with Dr. Ibrahim Wada and his staff at his beautiful, scenic Wellness Center at Wuse 2 in Abuja at 7:00 pm. Dr. Wada is a private physician and Fertility Specialist in Abuja. He made a presentation on state-of-the-art multi-Specialty medical practice at ANPA’s 2016 Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On Friday, March 30, ANPA President, Dr. Johnson Adeyanju and I visited Dr. Wole Kukoyi, a private physician at Ota on the outskirts of Lagos. He treated us to dinner with his staff and gave us a tour of his newly completed ultramodern 100 bed hospital. Dr. Kukoyi was at the 2017 ANPA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia and he participated in the panel discussion on opportunities and challenges of investment in health facilities in Nigeria.
Abraham Osinbowale, MD
Chair, ANPA’s Advocacy Committee