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Pharmacists Wage War against Doctors Over University Teaching Hospitals Bill

todayJuly 9, 2022

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Pharmacists in the country are not backing down on their demand for equity and fairness in the management of tertiary health institutions as the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has slammed fresh efforts by the Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) to stop the Amendment Bill for University Teaching Hospitals.

President of the PSN, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, who declared as ill-conceived a recent proposal by the Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria to scrap the Amendment Bill for University Teaching Hospitals, said ‘’administering or managing a hospital has nothing to do with surgical skills. You do not bring in your wealth of experience as a specialist physician with stethoscope to run the hospital system.’’

In a press statement entitled: ‘Re: Bill for an Act to Amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards etc) Act Cap U15 LFN 2004 Open all Frontiers of Restriction in Healthcare now’, Prof. Usifoh argued that all that is needed to succeed would be the depth of administrative skills or deep managerial acumen which other specialist health professionals, whether pharmacists, laboratory scientists or the other experts in the team possess.

He claimed that “this is why physicians have failed as heads of the hospitals in Nigeria. Indeed, if physicians were good managers it would have impacted on their private hospitals which often fail under their wretched business management.’’

“The MDCAN in its very provocative statement canvassed better funding and improved infrastructure but failed to justify and account for whatever ‘little’ government makes available to its exclusive club members who live like oil sheiks and merchants in our various cities and capitals.”

He slammed the physicians for the unending prejudices against other professionals in the health sector, describing it as a disservice to the nation and humanity.

“The incumbent DG of the WHO is a Scientist with a bias in Microbiology. This 1986 graduate of an Ethiopian University has no background in care provisioning, but he continues to succeed in his job at WHO because of his managerial expertise.

“The gregarious socialisation of the respective components of the health sector which should be a confederacy of brotherhood has been annihilated by the likes of MDCAN and its acolytes.”

He further claimed that the MDCAN, NMA have completely mutilated the configuration of their cultural historicity as regards a team concept as known globally.

“The commonality of our brotherhood remains jeopardised beyond repair every time we evaluate our current realities because of the unfortunate posturing of physicians.

“In the circumstance, the conundrum which the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) needs to be rescued with the proposed amendment bill which must succeed,” he added

Usifor further posited that “One of the factors that catalyse the draconian emperor life-style of the CMDs is that they are backed by an inner circle of a protective ring formed by their physician tribe on the Board of the Teaching Hospitals. Out of the statutory 13-man board structure of the FHIs, about eight are reserved for physicians.

“This is the same horrible structure at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) where at least seven out of 10 departments are headed by physicians. The office of the C-MAC reserved for physicians now unlawfully diversifies into creation of Deputy C-MAC which are about six in some FHIs. Physicians are ridiculously designated Deputy C-MAC (Energy), Deputy C-MAC (Hospitality) and similar aberrations.

 “Today, without a fundamental change in curriculum in Medical Practice, the physicians have explored the leadership role placed on them at the FMOH and FHIs to create a new order where physicians start the internship on the equivalent of GL 10 and proceed to GL 13 after youth service, pharmacists who hitherto were on the same entry grade level as physicians now start the internship on GL 09 and move to GL 10 after youth service.

“The other health workers who are not health professionals still start on GL 08 and it takes over 12 years for any of them who enjoy regular promotion to attain the entry point of a physician. This is why in less than 15 years average physicians who attain consultant status are already on the equivalent of GL 17 as Director.

“A quick check of the numbers of physicians who are Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Civil Service will confirm this analysis and the monumental injustice done to non-physician health workers in our country.

He alleged that the system has destroyed the career of many health workers until the redress in 2014 after a torturous the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) led health workers strike. “Physicians who led the FHIs have largely explored the wicked and selfish clauses of decree 10 of 1985 to decimate all other professions in healthcare.

“Every reference to training of workers in the enabling decree 10 covers exclusively training of medical students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.’’

He further claimed that “physicians are sponsored by the government to embark on residency training, but stumbling blocks are placed on the path of other health professionals. The FMOH issued a residency training circular for pharmacists in 2015, but the CMDs in almost all the 56 Federal Health Institutions(FHIs) deny pharmacists access to Wards and other facilities which belong to the government. In some instances, resident pharmacists in training pay upwards of N50,000 to access the facilities in hospitals where they work.

“It is a shame on Nigeria that Ghana has extended this privilege to its consultant pharmacists for over a decade while the same is also implemented in Sierra-Leone amongst many other countries.”

Continuing, he said “the usurpation of the privilege of skill acquisition is not limited to Pharmacy as Medical Laboratory Scientists who are autonomous professionals have been denied rights to become Heads of their Laboratories. Physicians (Pathologists) have insisted it is their right to head laboratories just like other Physicians (Ophthalmologists) want to continue to dominate Optometrists) and Radiologists suppress Radiographers with the backing of CMDs in FHIs.’’

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todayJuly 9, 2022

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