The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Abuja has asked the Nigerian government to implement the National Health Act.

The spokesman for the association in Abuja, Dr Patrick Ezie, made the demand in a statement on Friday, a day after Resident Doctors called off an industrial action that lasted for 10 days.

Ezie said the call was imperative to ensure that “healthcare is made available and affordable to the most vulnerable population of our society’’.

He described the Act as a beautiful piece of legislation that strengthened the framework for healthcare provision, but said that non-implementation of it remained a big setback.

According to Ezie, the Act also provides 1% of the nation’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the Basic Healthcare Provision fund.

"The National Health Act is to ensure that the most vulnerable are taken care of.

“This Act provides for free emergency services, free maternal care and treatment for under-fives and the elderly in the society as well as a robust strengthening of healthcare institutions.

“This will greatly complement the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) if we find the political will to implement it,’’ he said.

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"NHIS and Health Management Organisations (HMOS) can be encouraged by developing health polices with specific mandate to cater for the unique conditions of the vast majority of Nigerians.

"If such a scheme is successful, majority of unemployed Nigerians will have access to healthcare and this will bring us a step closer to Universal Basic Health Coverage," he explained.

A large amount of Nigerians are not under the NHIS and it needs to be reinvigorated.

Ezie says an increased effort on the part of government was necessary "to ensure that we are moving in the direction of achieving universal basic health coverage’’.

The health scheme was a vision that all responsible governments had for their citizens, adding that Nigerian could not be left out in such essential service.

The NMA scribe also stressed the need for huge investment in the health sector, warning that "if we fail today to invest in our health system, we will all suffer the consequences tomorrow’’.