Workers fault doctors’ call for ban on foreign medical trips, others



Blame NMA for ‘rot’ in public hospital facilities
Health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) & Allied Health Professionals Association (AHPA) have faulted some recent insinuations of doctors under the umbrella of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in recent times.

JOHESU/AHPA in a statement, yesterday, signed by the Chairman JOHESU,
Comrade Joy Josiah, said the NMA in a most recent call to President Muhammadu Buhari had requested the President to ban all public officers from seeking medical treatment abroad.

According to the statement, “In a more embarrassing but in tandem with the well known propensities of narcissism of the NMA hierarchy, it sought through a resolution that health regulatory agencies apart from its own Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) should be barred from carrying out statutory duties in hospitals. More bizarre is the NMA threat to en-list police support for this unlawful resolution.”

The health workers said on paper it sounds very rational that public officers who are first and foremost citizens should be compelled to access care services in Nigeria.

JOHESU/AHPA accused the NMA and its membership as being primarily responsible for the underlying reasons why anybody who has an option cannot rely on Nigerian hospital facilities for treatment for numerous reasons.

The Union said attempts to restrict regulatory functions of health regulatory bodies apart from the MDCN are not defendable for many reasons.

The statement noted: “Nigerian doctors especially those in public sector at both State and Federal levels are on strike for an average of six months every year. This negatively impacts on their expertise and skills. Any citizen who therefore has a choice will most likely seek attention in other places to avoid preventable fatality of perpetually absent doctors from their duty post.

“There are records to prove that some consultant doctors do not handle up to five surgical procedures in a three year period. This is common place in teaching and specialist hospitals in Nigeria. Generally, consultant doctors work for less than four hours in a day (that is if they bother to show up at all). In the circumstance it is obvious that there are cadres of practitioners in medicine who have refused to optimize their skills and this predispose would be prospective clients to danger. In a bid to respect the dead as African customs demand, we cannot mention specific names though the reality is that instances abound of wrong diagnosis involving notable Nigerians sometimes and these led to fatalities.

“Nigerian doctors have gained notoriety for training quacks in their facilities. This level of personnel includes pharmacy attendants who are trained to “fill prescriptions”, auxiliary nurses to handle “nursing care” and laboratory attendants to carry out “diagnostic tests”. The short cut in training this level of personnel who are quacks in professional callings is a major setback in medicare practice at private sector level. It is not in tandem with global best practices and epitomizes the tragedy which forestalls building capacity in the various healthcare professions in the private sector domain of the health sector.
Indeed one of the major reasons the doctors are scared about regulatory visits from sister regulatory agencies in healthcare is that they realize they are vulnerable to exposure of the unending unethical misconduct in the private facilities which they run.”

The health workers said the NMA’s communiqué that advocated that health regulatory bodies should not visit private hospitals was an outright misnomer. “A private hospital facility that has full complement of other healthcare practices include pharmacy, laboratory sciences, nursing, physiotherapy and others automatically transcends the regulatory latitude of the MDCN. The reason is obvious because there are laws that are profession specific which dictates that regulatory agencies have powers to regulate and control the different health professions in Nigeria,” it said.

JOHESU/AHPA further explained: “With benefit of hindsight the guild of medical directors (a nascent group of private doctors) indeed challenged the approbation in law of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to inspect and register hospital pharmacies in Nigeria. The Federal High Court, Lagos in a landmark ruling in October 2007 gave a ruling that the PCN by virtue of its powers in Section 1(1)d of the PCN Act indeed had a specific approbation in law to inspect and register all hospital pharmacies in both the public and private sector in Nigeria. Court rulings are sacrosanct because the rule of law mantra still prevails in this clime. The Nigeria Police can therefore not be used by persons who are on the wrong side of the law to promote egocentric desires.

“Finally, we advice Nigerian doctors to remove the log in their eyes before dealing with specs in the eyes of others. A good word is enough for the wise.”

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