The Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals has accused doctors in the health sector of treating other health workers with disrespect, stressing that at a time when young doctors in Nigeria should be concerned with stamping their relevance on the global scene, they were playing local politics in order to subdue those who were not doctors in the sector.
This came after the President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Olusegun Olaopa, condemned NUAHP for urging President Muhammadu Buhari to look beyond the doctors’ ranks to fill up the two health ministerial slots.
NUAHP in a statement signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Ohaekweiro Chukwuemeka, said it was disrespectful for resident doctors to refer to other health workers as support staff.
NUHAP accused Olaopa misleading the public by equating medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and other health workers as workers in the laundry and security departments. The union described the call as an attempt to downplay the relevance of other health workers in the sector.
Chukwuemeka said, “Unfortunately, the leader of the youngest medical professional group believes that pharmacists, physiotherapists, medical laboratory scientists, radiographers, dietitians, optometrists and so on render support services. If so, what are the people in the laundry and security departments rendering? This is an attempt to mislead the public. We should learn to call a spade by its name. The bane of the problem in the health sector is leadership. Everything rises and falls on the foot of leadership and if we get leadership correct, every other thing will be auto correctional.
“It’s quite regrettable that young professionals who are supposed to be trending with global best practice are still allowing professional neo-colonialism to limit their horizon, believing that only medical doctors can lead the health sector.”
The union said that the problem in the health sector began after the federal military government led by Gen Muhammadu Buhari and the late Gen Tunde Idiagbon was toppled by Gen Ibrahim Babangida in 1985, adding that all the gains of the past were eroded and replaced with a negative trend in the sector.
The PRO added, “During the Buhari-Idiagbon regime, WHO ranked Nigeria’s health system 54th among 191 countries of the world. It was the 1985 coup against Buhari-Idiagbon government that brought Nigeria health system to where it is till this moment. During those years, CEOs were in charge of hospitals. These are people who studied hospital management, health administration, health economics and possessed the basic and rudiments of managing hospitals and health industries.
“All these frameworks for sustaining quality and standard in the health sector were ousted with the promulgation of Decree 10 of 1985 that has bedeviled the health sector till now. The outcome of this include life expectancy of 52 years against 82 years in Japan, WHO ranking Nigeria’s health system at 187th out of 191 countries of the world, brain drain increasing from arithmetical progression to geometric progression and the National Health Insurance Scheme covering less than five per cent of the over 200 million population in Nigeria.”
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