Our attention has been drawn to the publication made on Punch Newspaper of 4th July, 2019 pg 10 and Medical world Nigeria. Ordinarily, it's not in our character to respond to every post, but for the interest of the public which the author intends to mislead, hence the need for this rejoinder.
It's quite regrettable that young Professionals who are suppose to be trending with global best practice are still allowing professional neo-colonialism to limit their horizon, believing that only Medical Doctors can lead the health sector; in a generation where Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a microbiologist who latter became his country's Health Minister and now the Director General of World Health Organization is doing wonders in WHO.
Most unfortunate, the leader of the youngest Medical professional group believes that pharmacists, physiotherapists, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Radiographers, Dietitians, Optometrists, etc render support services.
If so, what are the people in the laundry and security department rendering?
It's an attempt to mislead the public by telling them that a Medical Laboratory Scientist renders support services, meanwhile, the National President of NARD, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa claims that they do extra six years after graduating from Medicine to specialize in Laboratory Medicine.
Are you spending extra six years after graduating from Medicine to learn support services? Your guess is as good as mine.
We should learn to call a spade by its name. The bane of the problem in the health sector is leadership. Everything rises and falls on the foot of leadership and if we get leadership correct, every other thing will be auto correctional.
During the Buhari-Idiagbo regime, WHO ranked Nigeria's health system 54th out of 191 countries of the world.
It was the 1985 coup against Buhari-Idiagbo government that brought Nigeria health system to where it is till this moment.
During those years, hospital governors were in charge of hospitals as CEOs. These are people who studied hospital management, health administration, health economics, health policy and possess the bias and rudiments of managing hospitals and health industries.
Those days, people do man their area of professionalism. There was division of labor and specialization. In those days, there was no diverting of patients to private hospitals by the same professional that was suppose to treat the patient in the public hospital. Their was dedication to duty, professionals in all areas of Medical practice were given adequate on the job training and retraining, locally and internationally, as a way of ensuring that the services rendered in Nigeria is comparable to the services rendered in best hospitals around the world.
All these frameworks for sustaining Quality and standard in the health sector were ousted with the ousting of the Buhari-Idiagbo regime in 1985, through the promulgation of Decree 10 of 1985 that has bedeviled the health sector till now.
The outcome in the health sector from then till now are as follows:
1. Life expectancy of 52yrs in Nigeria against 82yrs in Japan.
2. WHO ranking Nigeria's health system at 187th out of 191 countries of the world.
3. Brain drain increasing from arithmetical progression to geometric progression, evidence in the number of candidates sitting for PLAB against number of candidates sitting for PRIMARIES.
4. NHIS covering less than 5% of the population in a country of over 200million persons.
5. Out of pocket payment of more than 90% in a country where a great chunk of her citizens live below one dollar a day.
6. Health Professionals being advised by an Honorable Minister of Health to practice farming and tailoring, meanwhile primary health centers across the nation are berefted of trained health professionals.
7. Increase in morbidity and mortality vis-a-vis increase in maternal and U-5 mortality.
8. Attempt to covert public health institutions to personal property under the mask of privatization at the detriment of Nigerians.
9. Lack of maintenance of government owned infrastructure.
We cannot continue to do the same thing the same way and be expecting new results.
For some decades now, only a particular professional in the health sector have been telling the story of the sector in the Federal Executive Council as Hon. Ministers of Health.
Presidency needs to balance the reportage to enable government see truly what the issues are, and the best and most potent way of balancing such reportage is to appoint the two health ministers from the other health Professionals aside Medical Doctors.
This will be the only right step in the right direction; the paradigm shift needed to return the health sector to its years of glory.
One thing Nigerians expect from Mr. President, is to at least, return Nigeria to its years of WHO ranking as one of the best 54th in the world.
We call on Nigerians and the leadership of NARD to join hands with NUAHP in creating a health sector that can guarantee right to life to the least Nigerian in the remotest part of Nigeria.
GOD BLESS NIGERIA
Com Ohaekweiro Edwin Chukwuemeka
Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals.