‘Gov’t Defying Abuja Declaration’

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A healthcare professional has expressed disappointment with the government for not living up to the Abuja Declaration which demands all African countries to commit 15 percent of their national budget to the health sector.

In July 2001, African Heads of State in Abuja, Nigeria and signed a declaration committing 15 percent of their national budgets to the health sector.

Morrison Tamba said that up to date, statistics show Liberia’s health budget is yet to reach 15 percent of the national budget.

He made the disclosure recently when he addressed health workers observing National Physician Assistants Association Day in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County.

Pharmacist Tamba speaking on the theme, “The Role of Physician Assistants (PAs) In Building a Resilient Health Care Delivery Program in Liberia” said it is important for the government to prioritize the health sector to effectively respond to the health care needs of the population.

PAs have a critical role to play in the actualization of this plan, therefore the government must recognize them and improve their livelihood, he said.

He noted: “Physician Assistants should live up to the ethical principles and professional standards by performing the duties required in their job description.

“The Liberian National Physician Assistant Association (LINPAA) should ensure that no person infiltrates and falsifies PA credentials to practice as PA by conducting a proper and vigorous scrutiny in keeping with the board’s regulation.” Furthermore he said PAs should be annually licensed while in active practice in keeping with international standards.

Tamba wants LINPAA to ensure that its membership database is current and at the same time ensure that effective monitoring and evaluation of its workforce meets global reality.

Turning to the professional work environment, Tamba said it was disheartening to note that several health facilities in the country lack safe drinking water and other necessities.

“Out of the total of 656 health facilities in the country, 13 percent do not have access to safe drinking water. 43 percent of our facilities have no functional incinerator, while 45 percent lack access to a primary source of emergency lighting,” Tamba said.

“Not to emphasize our commitment, due diligence and sacrifice to this nation, but it can be recalled that Physician Assistants led a team to establish the first ever Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) during EVD crisis when no one else could. My fellow Comrades, we are great beyond measure and together we can be better.

“No matter how far you are, remain committed to the call of duty. Since the establishment of our noble association our predecessors fought for, you continue to deny yourselves pleasure and social affiliations, making sure that our association retains its status in society.

“Comrades, let us do away with divisive politics in our association and get back to work. Liberia needs us now more than ever before. Our association’s dream is greater than any one of us, regardless of our status and position in society and this dream must live on. For those who seek personal aggrandizement above this dream, you will not succeed.”

Liberian National Physician Assistant Association Day is an annual event that assembles PAs to discuss issues impacting the organization.

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