By Felicia Imohimi
The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to revitalise the nation’s healthcare system by returning the management of health institutions to hospital administrators.
Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, the President of the union, made the call at the 10th quadrennial delegate conference with theme “Advancing national campaign toward good governance, poverty alleviation and ‘ Health for all’ for development”.
Biobelemoye explained that hospital administrators have not only been trained for such functions but also possess the professional attitude to manage these institutions without fear or favour of any professional body.
The MHWUN president, who described the past four years as the worst years in the health sector, attributed the challenges to the selfish interest and insensitivity of those at the helm of affairs in the sector to the plights of the masses.
Biobelemoye identified some challenges facing the healthcare system to include attempt by government to lean toward the policy of capitalist west to privatise health institutions.
He emphasised that the privatisation train made efforts to justify its implementation by insisting on PPP and outsourcing, among other necessary measures, in order to curb incessant strikes in the sector.
He however appealed to Buhari to take special interest in the health industry by reversing the current trend of having a medical doctor as the Minster of Health, Minster of State for Health as well as Labour and Productive.
“As long as government does not make conscious efforts to break this monopoly by medical doctors, a monopoly of self serving, Nigerians will continue to suffer for it.
“Not even privatisation that is presently heating up in the Federal Ministry of Health would halt this destructive nose-diving of the health indices of Nigerians.
“Under this guise, the focus is no longer patient oriented but self serving motives leading to not only corruption in the system but management of the sector by very ill-equipped, professionals that have abandoned their clinical and theatre duties for management assignments,” he said.
“If the President chooses to appoint a medical doctor as Minister of Health then somebody from among healthcare service deliverers comprising 90 per cent of the workforce should be appointed as Minister of State for Health.
“The sector witness a lot of challenges in the past years simply because both Ministers of Health are medical doctors and the Minister of Labour which ought to be a neutral person is also a medical doctor.
“This is why no matter how genuine issues bothering on poor healthcare delivery contested by other health workforce the Minister of Labour and Productivity could not sum up that courage to address the issues.
“That is why the plights of other health workers even the ones passed by court judgment were denied while doctors were secretly given those entitlement they are not entitle to base on the judgment.
“Any issues from other health workers outside medical doctors were treated or water down with very efficient negative propaganda hence the crisis lingers.
“Privatisation, Public Private Partnership, concessionning or whatsoever are ways to put more money in their pockets at the expense of the poor people in Nigeria,” he said.