March 3, 2011
From the Office of the President
As promised, I would like to use this opportunity to provide you with updates on the activities of our organization. Much has happened since our strategic retreat in Houston in November. I am pleased to announce that the much awaited memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria was signed on February 14th 2011. Some of you may recall that the initial MOU signed 6 years ago did not result in any significant activity. As a result the current leadership of the FMOH assembled a meeting of stakeholders in Abuja, last July. During that meeting, the decision was made to renew the MOU, but make it active by convening a joint technical committee (JTC) which will become the effector arm for the MOU.
On February 14th 2011, the Hon. Federal Minister of Health signed the MOU and commemorated a fourteen-member JTC. Represented on the JTC, were ANPA, MANSAG, FMOH, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Tertiary Hospitals. Our organization was represented by Past President Kpaduwa and myself. Also present from ANPA were Drs Igho Ofotokun, Vincent Idemyor and Abdulkareem Lateef.
The JTC held its first meeting that day, and began the work of identifying priorities that match the resources of ANPA and MANSAG. The next meeting is scheduled for late March 2011. ANPA proposes to focus on Maternal/Child Health and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as the initial priorities. Our organization will then leverage our technical expertise and resources to address these priorities. We believe that this is a huge step by our government, and will rely on our members to deliver on our promises. I will continue to keep you abreast of the JTC activities as they pertain to our organization.
Secondly, ANPA has been fortunate to secure financial and logistical commitment from the Health Systems 20/20 project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). As part of this project, ANPA has offered to provide technical assistance to facilitate the revision of medical school curricula in Nigeria. With assistance from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, the National Universities Commission (NUC), NIMR, the Diaspora Desk of the FMOH, and the University of Ibadan, the Hon. Minister for Health also inaugurated a committee to serve in an advisory role to the regulatory bodies in Nigeria, whose responsibility it is to revise the medical school curricula. This group also had a very successful meeting between February 15th and 18th 2011. Represented by Drs Igho Ofotokun, Vincent Idemyor and myself, our organization provided perspective on the American medical training. During that meeting, the decision was made to assemble the relevant materials to assist the NUC, MDCN and interested medical schools in Nigeria to begin the long process of curriculum reform. This process will likely take months to years; however we have been fortunate to secure the commitment from USAID and other partners for the duration of this project. We believe that this will be an important long-term investment to rebuild and strengthen the health care sector in Nigeria.
On the home front, preparations are underway for the next Annual Scientific Convention in Chicago. As usual, Professor Scott-Emuakpor and his program committee have put together a solid program. With a powerful theme of Maternal and Child Health, we will certainly attract significant attention from the public and private sectors. The projects described above will require significant financial commitment from our organization. As such, I hereby seek your assistance to begin making the calls to your friends, family, partners and acquaintances that are in the position to provide such assistance, both here and in Nigeria. Our organization will need a lot of financial support for many of these important activities that are underway. We all strongly believe in the activities of our organization to improve healthcare in Nigeria. We now need to communicate that need to our network of sponsors. I strongly believe that our organization can be a positive force for good in Nigeria. However we will need all hands on deck to accomplish this goal, and will need to convince other organizations about the importance of our work. The coming months are likely to be an exciting time for our organization. I will keep you informed as these activities evolve.
Fiemu E. Nwariaku