Doctors converge on Abuja for HIV, malaria

Doctors converge on Abuja for HIV, malaria

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The Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria will take place this April. I understand the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, will attend the event along with many other dignitaries. Ministers and presidents of premier medical associations will also grace the event to mark the 38th Annual General Meeting of the AGPMPN.

You should be there not because of the eminent personalities. You should attend the event because of the academic heavy weights coming to discuss the theme of the conference, ‘communicable diseases’. The sub-themes of the conference also lend to serious enlightenment and provide cerebral sustenance for the educated.

So, below are the reasons why you should register for the conference, book your trip and bring your ipad along to record an international conference of epic proportions happening in the FCT.

Tuberculosis

The Tuberculosis consortium led by the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme will be in Abuja to discuss on multidrug resistant TB. Dr. Emmanuel Meribole and Prof. Lovett Lawson are the giants coming to town on the issue of TB.

The good news is that the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis are provided free of charge by the Federal Government with the support of partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, USAID, WHO, Clinton Health Access Initiative as well as private sector organisations like Agbami-Co-Ventures.

The NTLCP is collaborating with AGPMPN in spreading the message to all nooks and crannies of Nigeria. The collaboration will enhance the number of diagnostic, treatment and research centres in the country. Private hospitals exist in every part of the country and can enhance a functional referral system plugged into the national pathways for diagnosis, treatment and control of TB. They will also be looking for public private partnerships with general practitioners in order to enhance the control of TB in the country.

HIV

Chikwe Ihekweazu, an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician has put together a formidable cast of lecturers to talk about HIV. Supported by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, the team will discuss a range of issues related to the control of HIV in Nigeria. I am particularly looking forward to hearing from Victor Omoshehin.

Victor is the National Coordinator of NEPWHAN, which is the central coordinating network for one of the largest network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in the world. The law makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their HIV status.

It also prohibits any employer, individual or organisation from requiring a person to take an HIV test as a precondition for employment or access to services. Eliminating the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS, encouraging easy access and freedom for widespread testing with subsequent early treatment is paramount to halting the spread of HIV.

Preventing mother-child transmission must also be a key programme in all general and private health care facilities in Nigeria.

Malaria

The major question is this, ‘Why is malaria diagnosed at every opportunity in Nigeria? How do we diagnose and treat malaria? These are critical questions and more the Malaria Consortium led Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe will discuss. Ezeigwe is the coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme.

Malaria is a major killer in Nigeria and more needs to be done about it. We need to do more apart from cleaner environments and proper sanitation to encouraging the use of treated nets, especially in the rural areas. Education of the populace by general practitioners in malaria prevention is important. We should lead this fight from the front.

Medical missions in Nigeria

One of the most critical aspects of this 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 their sustainability. The AGPMPN is ready to collaborate with interested parties to ensure we create a working platform supported by local doctors. This will ensure better planning and implementation of the programmes in order to achieve improved 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.

Great opportunity

There will also be many opportunities for business, meeting old/new friends and spending quality time with family. The AGPMPN is the umbrella organisation for all medical and dental practitioners in private practice. The members of the AGPMPN are entrepreneurs of repute, direct and indirect employers of labour and leaders of their respective organisations.

In Jamaican parlance, ‘Walk go, betta dan siddung’. This means you have to go looking for opportunities if you want to be successful! This is one great opportunity.

PUNCH.

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