By Hassan Zaggi
The monopoly of the leadership of the Nigeria’s health sector by medical doctors has been identified as the major drawback that is militating against the speedy growth of the sector.
The President, Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN), Dr. Josiah Biobelemoye, disclosed this at the 10th National Quadrennial delegate conference of the union in Abuja.
He, however, cautioned that, “when a minister of health, a Minister of State for health and, until recently, a Permanent Secretary of health and almost all departments are managed by one profession whose sole purpose is to exclude other professions in the healthcare delivery system for self serving reasons, there can be no harmony in the sector.”
Biobelemoye insisted that, for there to be harmony and efficiency in the management of the health sector, appointments into key positions including ministers and heads of parastatals should be spread to all stakeholders in the sector.
“Moreover, as long as the appointment of Ministers of Health, Directors in the Ministry of Health and the Chief Executives of health institutions remain the birth right of one profession- the medical doctors, to the exclusion of other health professionals in the team, turbulence and inefficiency shall continue to thrive as they are not trained for such duties, their discriminatory approach will continue to invite protestations from other members of the health team who are in the majority.
“As long as government does not make conscious efforts to break this monopoly by the Medical Doctors, a monopoly that is self serving, Nigerians would continue to suffer for it and not even privatization that is presently heating up the federal ministry of health would halt this destructive nose-diving or the health indices of Nigerians.”
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take special interest in the happenings in the health sector in an effort to addressing the anomaly and reversing the trend.
According to him: “As an immediate action to put confidence into Nigerians, the appointment of Ministers in the ministry must not necessarily be to only health profession in order to halt politics of exclusion that has taken tap roots in the ministry.
“We believe the appointment of non-health professionals as ministers, or the mixing of appointments of both doctors and other health professionals as ministers in the ministry of health would go a long way in boosting the confidence of the operators/stakeholders in the ministry that this present administration has come to terms with the problems and is determined to proffer solutions to them.”
The MHWUN President further lamented that: “What has destroyed the whole health system in Nigeria is the government’s mistake of handing over the management of the health system to an opportunistic and ill-equipped powerful minority of the health team who have completely destroyed the team spirit and arrogated to itself the sole ownership of the system to the exclusion of the large majority of the team members.
“Under this guise, the focus is no longer patient -oriented but self-serving motives leading to not only corruption in the system but a management of the sector by a very ill-equipped, professionalistic professionals that have abandoned their duties in the clinics and theatres for management assignments.”