…As JOHESU, Minister, NMA differ on heads of public health Institutions

Stakeholders applauded ongoing efforts toward the amendment of the University Teaching Hospital (Reconstitution of Boards), 2004 which seeks to restructure the composition of the Governing Board, review the nomenclature of the Heads of the Hospitals, redefine the qualifications of Heads of Hospitals, define the tenure of heads of hospitals including students of health sciences in the training programmes of hospitals, sponsored by Hon Bamidele Salam (PDP-Osun).

In his presentation, Hon Salam observed that hospital administration is a speciality within healthcare administration; it is one of the most advanced leadership careers in healthcare. It focuses on the overall operation of hospitals and other significant health facilities and requires both healthcare experience and administrative/management acumen.

The purpose of the bill, therefore, is to strengthen the administration mechanism of University Teaching Hospitals through the broadening of its administrative heads and entrench greater professionalism in the management of our medical tertiary institutions.

He expressed optimism that the legislation will also considerably reduce inter-disciplinary rivalry within the teaching hospitals by ensuring that all critical stakeholders are involved in the composition of the Boards of the teaching hospitals.

According to him, the Bill is in tandem with global best practices with special references to the United Kingdom, United States of America and other countries where medical training have been successfully.

At a press briefing, the JOHESU delegation led by National President, Nigerian Union of Allied Professionals, Dr Ogbonna Chimela and Pharmacist Olumide Akintayo urged that the bill should not be a replica of Decree 10 and that the Head of health institutions should not be skewed the medical doctors alone.

He also urged that the appointment of the medical directors should be reviewed with a view to provide enabling environment for all healthcare professionals and administrators as well as managerial skills in order to provide room for competition.

Also speaking, the National President of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Nnachi Mike expressed support for the reconstitution of the Board so that best practices can be maintained.

“The change of leadership will certainly move the health sector forward. Without the patient, you may not need the doctor, the pharmacist, the nurse, the laboratory scientist. It is only when we work together that we can impact positively on the health of the patients,” he noted.

However, in his presentation, the Minister of Health, Dr Osage Ehanire, who was represented by Director Hospital Services, Adebimpe Adebiyi explained that the university teaching hospital is a well-organised system under the federal ministry of health with a mandate with manpower training and primarily designed to train medical students.

While noting that the Chief Medical Director of the University Teaching Hospital is not only an administrator but also ensure that standards are maintained he argued that the “passage of this bill into law will lead to a huge disruption in the health sector” and further worsen the brain drain syndrome being experienced in the country and lower standard of healthcare, rather than this bill, expertise should be placed on addressing the brain drain, improving hospital infrastructure.”

In the same vein, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah, who opposed the entire provisions of the bill argued that the “bill as proposed seeks to defeat the purpose for the enactment of the Principal Act that is seeking to amend.

“It is important for us to know that, unlike other government hospitals, the university teaching hospital, starting with University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan were established primarily for the purpose of training the medical students.

“Prior to the enactment of the principal act, university teaching hospitals were run by directors of administration. This caused a lot of crisis as the directors of administration were more focused on the financial bottom line to the detriment of training and research.

“The Principal Act made the position of the Chief Medical Director, a full-time position to be occupied by a person who possesses professional qualifications similar to those of the dean or provost of the associate medical schools and with cogent administrative experience in matters of health.

“The Principal Act vested the control of teaching hospital in the person whose primary field of competence as a fully registered medical practitioner and dental surgeon imbued him with knowledge and legal standing to take charge of the management of patients and training of medical student who owned the teaching hospital.

“The requirement of the principal act that a CMD must be a person who is a fully registered medical practitioner or dental surgeon is not a mistake. It is in keeping with the provisions of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

“It is not the headship of the teaching hospitals that is the problem, it is the state of the nation. This country does not fund teaching hospitals well.”

While declaring the public hearing open, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who was represented by the Majority Leader, Hon Alhassan Ado-Doguwa expressed optimism that the legislation would strengthen the country’s healthcare system.

Nigerian Tribune