Pharmacists tackle medical consultants over teaching hospital bill


Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis

The Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria has denounced the position of medical consultants and provosts on the health bill currently before the National Assembly.

According to the pharmacists, the medical consultants are trying to mislead lawmakers into throwing out the needed bill just because of their desire to continue the monopoly of leadership in the health sector.

Recall that the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria had on June 30 urged the National Assembly to throw out what it described as an ‘obnoxious Bill’ seeking the amendment of the University Teaching Hospitals.

The association had warned that any attempt to pass the bill will amount to a recipe for disaster in the running of federal health facilities in the country.

The Bill entitled “Bill for an Act to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards etc.) Act Cap U15 LFN 2004” was sponsored by the lawmaker representing Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency of Osun State, Hon. Bamidele Salam.

The medical body stated that the Bill was the handiwork of a group of workers within the Federal Tertiary Hospitals who are bent on destroying the status quo due to their perennial, insatiable quest to take over the institutions from the back door.

The bill, among other things, seeks to change the nomenclature of the Head of Tertiary Health Institutions in Nigeria from Chief Medical Director, redefine the qualification of Head of Tertiary Hospitals, provide a definite tenure of office for the Heads of Tertiary Hospitals, Include students of Health Sciences in the training programmes of Tertiary Hospitals and health facilities established post-enactment of the extant legal framework in the schedule.

Reacting to the position of the medical consultants, the Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria noted that the medical consultants were merely fighting for the monopoly of leadership in the health sector.

Speaking with our correspondent, CPAN Chairman, Joseph Madu said that while the MDCAN and APCOM have admitted that Nigeria’s healthcare sector is an ailing one, they failed to agree that it is in dire need of reform.

“It is painful to see MDCAN describe this Bill as obnoxious, without remembering that doing the same thing in the same way, and expecting different results is nothing but complete madness.

“We as clinical pharmacists believe that Nigerian people deserve and should get optimal healthcare that fits global best practices and that achieving this goal should override any other chauvinistic professional interests and considerations,” he said.

Madu stressed that pharmacists found it difficult to understand the statements credited to both MDCAN and APCOM that hospitals led by physicians are universally better managed.

According to him, such claims lack verifiable evidence and were aimed at misinforming the general public and lawmakers.

He stated that available statistics have shown that ‘Physician CEO’ of nearly 6,500 hospitals in the United States declined from 35% to 4% as of 2009, adding that the US has steadily embraced trained hospital managers over time.

“Even in South Africa, a medical degree is not a requirement to be a hospital CEO. But the person has to be a health worker. It clearly stated that the basic requirement is that whatever the qualifications of an individual, they must, first and foremost, be a health worker.”

“We are not opposed to any particular healthcare professional group members being the heads of Nigeria’s university teaching tertiary hospitals. What we are deeply concerned about is the continued deleterious outcome of sacrificing competence and merit on the altar of the ego of a certain group of Nigeria’s healthcare professionals.

“The continued decadence and downward trend of the critical comparable health indicators in Nigeria for several decades now is the strongest evidence against status-quo.

“Now is the time to change. We cannot continue to do the same things the same way and expect a different result. The Health Bill in the reference should be appropriated and allowed to be passed after a constructive debate on the floor of the Nigeria National Assembly.

“Our national health indices represent a national embarrassment to us Nigerians in the committee of nations,” he said.

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