Ministerial Appointment: “We have been Marginalised” – Healthcare Professionals

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Stakeholders in the health profession, under the auspices of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), have decried the continuous appointment of medical practitioners as Chief Medical Directors of Hospitals and Ministers of Health respectively, without consideration for those from the NUAHP.

The NUAHP made its displeasure known at the end of its quadrennial national conference in Keffi, Nassarawa State, through a statement signed by Comrade Dr. Ogbonna O.C, its National President and Comrade Ohaekweiro Edwin, its National Public Relations Officer (PRO).

“It is no more news that there is discrimination, marginalization, oppression and suppression of other healthcare professionals by the medical practitioners in the health sector. To worsen the situation, the Government through the sitting president usually appoint both the minister of health and the minister of state for health from among the medical practitioners while no consideration is given to other healthcare professionals who are active players in the health team”, the statement reads in part.

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“The delegates, therefore, appeal to the Federal Government to please ensure that one of the two ministers be appointed from among the various other professionals that make up the health team in order for us to have an all-encompassing ministry which will give every player a sense of belonging. We hereby appeal that this request be given due consideration as the president is set to appoint new ministers into various ministries including our dear ministry of health”, they said.

“Appointment of Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of Teaching Hospitals / Federal Medical Centres: The decree 10 of 1985 now known as CAP 463 LFN 2004 section 5, subsection 2 which reads in part “the Chief Medical Director shall be a person who is medically qualified and registered as such for a period not less than twelve (12) years, has had considerable administrative experience in matters of health and hold post graduate medical qualification obtained not less than five (5) years prior to the appointment as Chief Medical Director”.

“However, this law has been misinterpreted by the Federal Ministry of Health to mean that the post of Chief Executive Officer of Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres are exclusively meant for medical practitioners only. We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to prevail on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure strict adherence to the true interpretation of the law whenever any vacant post of Chief Executive Officer of a Teaching Hospital or Federal Medical Centre is to be filled.”

The NUAHP also called on the government to look into the payment of their members’ “withheld April and May, 2018 salaries and all other withheld salaries…, and to correct the abnormalities in the payment of the 2017/2018 promotion arrears”

Amongst other issues, the NUAHP opined that the proposed health sector reform “should not be characterized by direct or indirect privatization of existing Federal Government facilities as this will only take the health sector from frying pan to fire by taking affordable healthcare away from the reach of an average Nigerian. This will also have adverse effects on teaching and researches which are part of the major purposes a teaching hospitals service”.

“The Government should ensure that all relevant stakeholders are carried along at every stage of the reform in order for the exercise to yield the expected result.