A Rejoinder: Health Workers Plan Showdown with the Federal Government over Ministerial Slots

On 07/Aug/2019 / In Press Publications


I read with serious concern the rejoinder released by Dr. C. Iregbu, President, college of Nigerian Pathologists.

(Click HERE to download this publication)

To start with, I have the following observations from his write up;

  1. The write up was done in such a hurry without reading in between the lines to respond succinctly to the points raised in the interview. This was copiously manifested in his presentation where he was referring to “Medical Laboratory Scientists” as “Medical Scientists” quoting our National President out of context. There is a great difference between a Medical Laboratory Scientist and a Medical Scientist.
  2. It is also instructive to let you know that there is a huge difference between Pathologists and Medical Laboratory Scientists. Medical Laboratory Scientists work in all areas of clinical Laboratory including blood banking, Chemistry, Hematology, Immunology, Histology and Microbiology. They perform full range of Laboratory tests among other activities. They are also responsible for confirming the accuracy of test results and releasing laboratory findings to Pathologists and other Physicians. The information a Medical Laboratory Scientist gives to the Pathologist or Physician influences the treatment a patient a receives for better outcome. This does not make a Medical Laboratory Scientist subservient to a Pathologist but rather a team player and a co-professional in a distinct department separate from Medical Services where the pathologists belong; evident in the over thirteen court judgements secured in a court of competent jurisdiction, with non either upturned nor with a stay of execution.

1. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/128/2012     FMC ASABA

2. Suit No: NICN/JOS/8/2014         JUTH JOS

3. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/284/2014      OAUTH IFE

4. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/285/2014      UUTH UYO

5. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/114/2014      FETHA ABAKALIKI

6. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/114/2014      UNTH ENUGU

7. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/114/2014      ENSUTH ENUGU

8. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/97M/2016      CMD, JUTH JOS

9. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/421/2016       FMC LOKOJA

10. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/183/2015     UCTH CALABAR

11. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/184/2015     UBTH BENIN

12. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/182/2016      ISTH IRRUA

13. Suit No: NICN/ABJ/332/2016      OOUTH SAGAMU

It is the connivance of FMoH with the likes of Dr. C Iregbu, that these Judgements are being disobeyed till today.

In the write up of our National President, Dr. C. O. Ogbonna, he said without fear of any form of contradiction, that some Pathologists go for 3 to 4 months training in Medical Laboratory Sciences to perform the job of a Medical Laboratory Scientist; but in Dr. Iregbu’s mischievous presentation, overtly or covertly, he misrepresented his view that Pathologists are only trained for 3 to 4 months.

Since Dr. Iregbu claimed they are trained for 14 years to become Pathologists, can he tell members of the public what their duties are in the hospitals? I am not doubting the number of years you claim to be trained as a Pathologist but I am re-emphasizing the position of our National President, that some Pathologists after training for the number of years they claim, still go for 3 to 4 months training to practice Medical Laboratory Sciences which is tantamount to quackery. Medical Laboratory Sciences and Pathology are they the same? Can someone practice two distinct professions at the same time in the same sector? That would amount to jack of all trades and master of none. The Act establishing the two professions are they the same? The Medical Laboratory Science law is Act 11 of 2001.

In professionalism, no profession is greater than the other. Once you are a professional you must give mutual respect to one another in that regard. Seeing one profession as subservient to the other is unprofessional. We are referred to as medical team or Health team. One profession cannot make a team.

  1. Furthermore, Dr. Iregbu left the subject matter and was attacking the personality of Dr. Ogbonna and his hard earned degree (PhD). The air of arrogance, impudence and derogatory remarks leave nothing to be admired from a person who claimed to be a professional. A quick check on your qualification indicated that your highest degree is a Masters’ degree. I can now see why you cannot appreciate the hard earned PhD of Dr. O. C. Ogbonna. There is no way you can value what you don’t have. Your MBBS first degree that gave you the title Doctor (Dr) appellation seemed to have beclouded your sense of judgement. You better make haste and enroll for your PhD, so as to value those that had strived to have it.
  2. He was referring to Pathologists as the father of Medical Laboratory Scientists even at that, it is the prayers of fathers that their sons or children be greater and better than them. Any father that would want to usurp, override and suppress his child cannot be called a responsible father. That mathematicians and physicists founded computer science does not mean they supervise and head computer science practice. Medical Sciences is evolving globally and each profession is advancing, but in Nigeria, the Medical Practitioners would not want other professional groups to grow which is against international best practices, and is seriously rubbing off on the health of Nigerians.

Finally, I discovered that from the signature page of the author’s write up, it is clear that he was just speaking for himself, expressing the figment of his parochial imaginations, not representing the views of his colleagues nor the recognized college he portends to represent. He did the disjointed write up alone and in order to give authenticity to it as that of the college, he scanned the signature of his acting Secretary, Dr. Akeem Lawal, and this aberration showed that his write up was done alone.

Members of the public should know that the most important persons in the hospital are the patients not the Doctors as claimed by our friend, Dr. Iregbu.  The team spirit and mutual respect for one another is the way to go.

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is at liberty to appoint any competent professional as Minister of Health not necessarily a Medical Practitioner as being projected by the Medical Practitioners as their exclusive preserve.

It is glaringly clear that the author is playing to the gallery by confirming that he and his professional colleagues are invincible and above the law. If he can out rightly with sense of impunity declare to the public that the pronouncement and Court judgements from Courts of competent jurisdiction presided over by eminent Jurist are not implementable, casting aspersion to the sensibility of the sage Judges, the Toga of omniscient exhibited by this group of Medical Practitioners is the reason why health sector cannot make much progress in recent times. Who is ignorant now? If he does not know at this age and time that if a matter has been decided upon and judgement given, if such matter is appealed and there is no stay of execution, the initial judgement subsists until the appeal Court decided otherwise. Dr. Iregbu and some of his professional colleagues are always playing “thin god” and arrogate unnecessary powers to themselves by constantly violating Court judgements and laws. Let me also seize this opportunity, to appreciate the Nigerian Bar Association, for choosing Medical Negligence as one of their major topic of discussion in this year’s NBA conference. The discussion is long overdue; we call on our learned friends to assemble all stakeholders, within and outside the health sector to do justice to this menace, that has laid ambush on the life expectancy of Nigerians. A lot of the desired changes can begin from the discuss.

It is time to clip those wings.

Comrade Ohaekweiro Edwin E. C.

National Public Relations Officer,

Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals

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