Just some few days ago, Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), and National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), have in strong terms castigated the nationwide Industrial action embarked on by the Nigerian medical doctors.
Releasing a press statement last week, JOHESU had accused the doctors of impunity, unfairness and being insensitive towards the plight of the nation cum the wellbeing of the Nigerian patients.
The medical doctors were also accused of trying to force the Nigerian government into meeting its ‘malicious demands as against other health workers progress.
JOHESU also maintained that NMA has no legal right to strike as it is not a registered union; but Chief among the points was the allegation that the NMA had tried to subdue other health workers by claiming too much importance over other health workers, who are also professionals in various health field of study) by which doctors lobbied for a better welfare above fellow partners on health issues.
According to the union “the NMA and its group, legally lack this right, to embark on, or negotiate conditions and even enter into collective bargaining with its employers. In other words, NMA has used blackmail to coerce and intimidate the government to enter into agreement, all of which ordinarily are illegal.”
Preceding JOHESU’s statement, the Nigerian doctors have rejected and criticized the conferment of the title ‘ consultant’ on a non doctor in a hospital setting’ arguing that only the doctor owns the patient and should maintain the title in a hospital.
The medical association explained that “the title ‘consultant’ in a hospital setting describes the relationship between the specialist medical doctor and his patient. It will be a source of confusion if the title is applied to any other health worker who statutorily does not own a patient, if ‘non doctor consultants’ are appointed, it will lead to chaos and anarchy in the health sector”.
Furthermore, Doctors have also accused other health workers and government of trying to rubbish the noble profession by trying to change what obtains internationally; making a reasonable argument, the doctors said it is not done anywhere in the world, where a medical position will be occupied by a non doctor as such actions is bound to spell doom for the health sector. Doctors had as a matter of urgency requested for the appointment of a surgeon general of the federation, a move to safeguard its position in the health sector.
Appointment of a Surgeon General of the federation was one urgent request made by the medical doctors but this request had ignited the wrath of other health workers among which is the National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP).
NUAHP had in few months ago threatened to go on strike, should the government approve a medical doctor as the surgeon general of the federation, claiming that such appointment was capable of making worst the existing crisis in the sector.
Following a hint about the approval of the proposal, NUAHP had warned that “now that Mr. President has granted approval to this controversial demand made by the NMA, the nation should be ready to face a very serious industrial unrest from other health care professionals and workers in the health sector; who constitute more than 90 percent of the workforce in the health industry.”
The union reiterated that the proposal had been thrown out by the Obasanjo’s tenure who disallowed the proposal after seeking advice from stake holders, reasoning that it could cause disharmony among health workers.
A close study of the sector in recent times has shown that the health sector is gradually turning into a boxing ring and worst of it is the inability of neutral stakeholders and ignorance of the Nigerian populace of this development, in order to put the issue into perspective and help proffer solutions
The adage that says when two elephant fight, the grass suffers is not farfetched from the chaotic scene created by health professionals as the poor Nigerian patient is left to the mercy of the warring health workers, while many avoidable deaths become the consequences of such actions.
This scenario has not only attracted curious attention but as matter of urgency call for intervention by all stake holders as without an understandable dialogue, the health sector might be plunged into anarchy that will obviously spell doom for Nigerian patients.
Meanwhile, issues brought to the fore as for the peoples’ debate are:
What then are these physicians clamoring for that has so thrown the health sector into a political and malicious organization?
Who is a Surgeon General and what are his powers cum how the powers will affect the freedom and peace of other health workers
The saga behind who becomes a health director in a health institution of which has actually brought about leadership tussle;
Issues bordering on salary variance or, and position placement and why it has become an issue;
What could be done to end the crisis at the sector?
Until next week, as the tradition is to consult with stake holders and partners in the health sector.