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Next Health Minister Must Not Be a Doctor - NUAHP
Date Posted: 01/Jan/2015
The National Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that a non-medical practitioner is appointed as a substantive Minister of Health to fill the vacuum created by the former Health Minister, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu.
 
This, the group said, is one of the factors that can help resolve chains of challenges, including professional rivalries, militating against the nation’s health sector.
 
President of the group, Mr Kayode Faniran, stated this at the weekend in a telephone interview with National Mirror.
 
He said it would be unfair to non-medical professionals should a doctor is once again appointment to head the Federal Ministry of Health currently being supervised by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Khaliru Alhassan, who is a doctor.
 
Chukwu resigned as Minister on October 20 this year to vie for gubernatorial primary under ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP in his state, Ebonyi. But, he failed.
 
NUAHP comprises, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Radiographers, pharmacists, dieticians, psychologists, physical therapists, optometrists, health information managers, medical social workers among others.
 
The association is among the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, who have been on strike over alleged failure of the Federal Government to implement agreement reached with the health workers, following court injunctions.
 
Faniran said: “Our position is very clear on the appointment of Minister of Health. We are advising President Goodluck Jonathan to be careful. The current supervising Minister is a medical practitioner, a member of NMA. Any attempt by the presidency to appoint another person from NMA, it means that he does not want peace in the health sector.
 
“We advise him strongly that there should be no two persons from NMA as Minister of health henceforth. History of Nigeria has shown that whenever a member of NMA is made to be Minister of Health, usually, industry crisis usually appreciates. Go and look at history from 1985, Prof Olukoye Ransome Kuti, Oshotimehin, and now Chukwu. Chukwu was the worst in the history of NMA being leader. They are selfish; they don’t want other professionals to rise. And, they make people believe that NMA member is superior to anybody. That is not correct. We are all professionals; it is not like that in other countries. Why should it be like that in this country?
 
“So, we are calling on Mr President, he has to replace Chukwu in this cabinet and the person that will hold the office must not come the NMA. He should be from allied health professionals. That is my advice for him,” he added.
 
It would be recalled that non-medical professionals have not only clamoured to head the Federal Ministry of Health, they have repeatedly upped their aspiration to be appointed as the Surgeon-General of the Federation being proposed by stakeholders in the sector. Holder of the office will primarily be responsible for determining the health competences of political office holders in the country.
nigeria union of allied health professionals
On the ongoing strike by JOHESU, Faniran explained that what was required to end the strike was for the Federal Government to issue circulars to public health institutions across states of the federation, stating its readiness to implement agreements it had signed with the health workers. He vowed the workers would not call off the strike until government issues the circulars.
 
He added that members of the union complied with the directive on the strike, nationwide, except for “some areas where we have emergencies, we allow our members to attend to those emergencies in the interest of the people. Like when there was problem in Kano mosque, we allowed them to do something to minimize the effect of the attack.”
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