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H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki delivers keynote address to Nigerian Medical Association; addresses codeine crisis

H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki yesterday delivered a keynote address and took part in a panel session at the Nigerian Medical Association's 58th Annual Delegates Meeting and Scientific Conference Town Hall Meeting in Abuja. The meeting was focused on “Health, Democracy and Governance: Putting Health Atop The Political Agenda of Nigeria.”

Addressing the association, Mrs Saraki commented:

"The benefits of universal health coverage go far beyond health, it allows our citizens to reach their potential, protects from the disruption of epidemics, reduces inequality and stimulates the economy. When we push for healthcare to be at the top of the political agenda, we must be prepared to make the hard-headed business case for investment. Imagine A Nigeria where every woman has access to a qualified #midwife to make every delivery a joy and not a risk. Once our fellow 198 million citizens can imagine that Nigeria, together we can make it a reality. Imagine the impact, we can save 198 million lives.”

Responding to audience questions on the codeine crisis, Mrs Saraki stated: "The alarming and rising statistics on drug addiction and the misuse of over-the-counter drugs is a crisis that speaks to the root of weakened social structures. The Senate is in the process of strengthening drugs controls and mental health legislation, Strengthening Nigeria National Formulary protocols would certainly be a welcome step while investment in every Nigerian from birth to age, with regular checks, and records, to trigger prevention and prompt counselling and care, of every Nigerian, is needed to curb the current social crises we are witnessing, with particular regard to drugs misuse and addiction, mental health.”


The NMA Town Hall Meeting was chaired by Professor Jerry Gana, while panelists included: Dr Idris Muhammad - Chairman HERFON, Professor Oyewale Tomori - Chairman National Biovaccines Ltd, Mr Eze Onyekpere - Centre for Social Justice, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu - Partners for Electoral Reform, Mr Mike Egboh - Health Sector Reform Coalition, Professor Mahmood Yakubu - INEC Chairman. The panel was moderated by Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

Mrs Saraki is the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and a Special Advisor to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa.

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