The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA), both of which constitute about 95 per cent of the workforce in the health sector have rejected report of the Yayale Ahmed Presidential Committee of Experts on Professional Relationships in the Public Health Sector (YAPCEPRPH).
In an open letter to President Mohammadu Buhari dated, July 25, JOHESU and AHPA dissociated themselves from the committee’s recommendations for the establishment of the office of the Chief Medical Adviser to the President, the creation of a National Healthcare Commission, rejects the Committee’s opposition to the appointment of other health professionals as directors in federal health institutions, among others.
Rejection of majority of the recommendations of the YAPCEPRPH by JOHESU and AHPA was based on their confirmations that the Secretariat of the Committee was infiltrated by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) through its privileged members in government.
The open letter was signed by AHPA and the various unions that constitute JOHESU including Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, national president, Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN), A.A. Adeniji, national president, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Dr. B.A. Akintola, president of Senior Staff Association of Universitites Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutes (SSAUTHRIAI); the National President of Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Dr. Obinna C. Ogbonna; and the National President of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Dr. Chris Ani; while President of AHPA, Dr. G.C. Okara signed on behalf of that body.
Following professional disharmony between medical doctors and other health workers, the Federal Government had set up the YAPCEPRPH to look into the problems and profer solutions. Although, report of the Committee was submitted to the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, it is currently before Buhari for consideration, approval and subsequent implementation.
JOHESU and AHPA, said roles the Committee ascribed to the proposed Chief Medical Adviser to the President show that it was ‘’a short-cut to bring back the concept of Surgeon-General as previously demanded by the NMA. The Committee cited examples of other countries where doctors have monopoly of some public health initiatives, but avoided United States (US) experience of the Surgeon-General which was open to all professionals. They added, “The incumbent American Surgeon-General is a trained Registered Nurse.”
They reasoned that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), which currently provides for two cabinet ministers of health, a permanent secretary, 10 directors out of which one was in charge of public health and another hospital services was sufficient to execute the roles being ascribed for the proposed Chief Medical Adviser to Mr. President.
On the headship of teaching hospitals, which the Committee suggested should be by medical doctors only, JOHESU and AHPA noted that job description for leader of federal health institutions was purely administrative. “It needs no knowledge of surgical procedures or stethoscope for effective output,” they reasoned, adding that condition precedent to be CEO must revolve around interested persons being seasoned administrators or managers of cognate experience.
Other recommendations of the Committee rejected by JOHESU and AHPA include its appointment of CMAC and that of Deputy CMAC, the position of the panel on Pharm D and O.D Programmes, poor hazard, call-duty and related allowances to health professionals, the withdrawal of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular authorising Medical Laboratory Science of Nigeria (MLSCN) to approve licence for importation of IVDs, among others.
Source: New Telegraph