When some 1,000 general practitioners, especially members of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, meet in Abuja in April, some indigent Nigerians will get free surgeries. The meeting will discuss critical issues in the sector, but it will surely touch the lives of such indigent patients.
The AGPMPN is collaborating with The Association of Rural Surgeons and the Rotary Club to facilitate free operations for those who require it. But, these will not be big or major operations! Instead, issues like a swollen appendix, hernia, male circumcision, cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries will be undertaken.
Do you have patients for us to help? Please send me a note and we will see what we can do to help reduce pain and misery in Nigeria. Even if only in a few people! However, working with other organisations, we may actually repeat the exercise at different locations in the country long after the conference train has left Abuja.
The AGPMPN is the umbrella organisation for all medical and dental practitioners in private practice. General and private medical practitioners see up to 70 per cent of the population and therefore play a huge part in moving Nigeria’s health care forward towards the land of great promise. The members of the AGPMPN are entrepreneurs of repute, direct and indirect employers of labour and leaders of their respective organisations.
Between April 8 and 17, participants will be in Abuja from all parts of the country. They will be coming in droves for their Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference.
The theme of the conference, ‘Communicable Diseases’, encompasses several big topics. These include issues about malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. We have also included important topics such as cancer screening, as well as medical missions to Nigeria, as sub-themes of the conference.
There are several big players related to each topic and we expect big ideas from the different groups and organizations involved. The Public Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health is one of the biggest players with critical information for general practitioners. Big teaching hospitals, cutting-edge pharmaceutical companies, sharp research centres and serious non-governmental organisations are also invited. They have been invited to partake in providing the educational content and health advocacy of benefit to the Nigerian public: by engaging actively with the members of the AGPMPN. It therefore promises to be a star-studded affair with so much on offer.
A listening ear
So, general practitioners will be in Abuja to listen to information of relevance to the health of the nation. We are all ears waiting for the delivery of pertinent health advocacy through highly-trained and well-placed lecturers in health research, economics and clinical practice. You can certainly borrow our ears for the week to pass on relevant information of benefit to all Nigerians. What is important in malaria? Or HIV and tuberculosis? What about this present problem with Lassa fever?
On malaria, doctors are being asked to always test for and confirm that a patient has malaria before instituting treatment. This is vital information and should help to reduce the rate of misdiagnosis and delays in treatment currently bedevilling the health space in Nigeria. Almost everything, including broken bones and pregnancy, is caused by malaria and its twin brother, typhoid fever!
HIV and AIDS
With HIV, testing and encouraging young people to check their status is important. Everyone must take charge of their sexual health and avoid dangerous liaisons. ‘Check your status and question your sexual partner about his or her status’ are the messages general practitioners must take back to their stations for their particular constituency. The executives of the AGPMPN will be demonstrating this physically and practically by having their tests conducted publicly.
Medical missions to Nigeria
One of the most critical aspects of this particular meeting is the medical missions to Nigeria. Who is doing medical missions? What have you done? When and where? Are missions sustainable? Is it value for money or a waste of time and resources? What are the positive aspects, the challenges and how do we move forward, ironing out the wrinkles? What is the driving force behind medical missions?
For a long time now, many organisations have conducted missions in Nigeria without forethought as to sustainability. The AGPMPN is ready to partner with interested parties to ensure we create a working platform supported by local doctors. This will ensure that the programmes are better planned and executed with a view to improving follow-up and auditing of the impact. It might ease bureaucracy, improve accountability and ensure sustainability.
So, anyone or an organisation interested in or who have conducted medical missions to Nigeria in the past are welcome to this meeting. We will create a round table for discussions and facilitate closer working relationship with the AGPMPN. Nigerians will benefit.
Join us and let us join hands together for health.
NB: To register or sponsor the conference please kindly visit the website, http://www.agpmpnasorock2016.org/