PSN seeks amendment of UTH Act 

feef national assembly x x
feef national assembly x x

By Henry Uche 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (Lagos branch), has called on the National Assembly to hold a public hearing on the need to amend the appropriate sections of the University Teaching Hospitals Act to pave way for robust and dynamic health service, in tandem with global best practices. 

In an address, the chairman, Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, at the 2022 annual luncheon, Lagos, said the University Teaching Hospital Act was a military creation, which was handed down as Decree 10 of 1985, and has been an obnoxious legislation that has been the bane of the health system for 37 years. 

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According to him, the National Assembly must approve new conditions that open the closed and restricted frontiers of leadership of federal health institutions to include seasoned administrators and managers of cognate experience in the ultimate public and professional interest. 

“Two major challenges worry us: The amendment of the University Teaching Hospital Act by the National Assembly and establishment of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Lagos State University. 

“The  hospital act remains the foundation for the dangerous manipulation of physicians in Nigeria who, with tacit support of government at all levels, interpreted “medially qualified” as a phraseology that implies bagging of MBBS or MBChB or its equivalent in whatever form.” 

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Iyiola affirmed that the clause has been employed in truncating normative civility in Nigeria’s health sector, where ‘physician emperors’ are foisted over all structures of healthcare at federal, state and local government levels. He noted that, prior to 1985, it was health administrators or managers who steered the ship of various health workers to stick and excel in their areas of due competences. 

“Unfortunately, a few decades down the line, when a physician take-over was compelled, the success stories changed into lamentations, and negative health indices including: staggering infant mortality rates; poor under-five mortality rate; high maternal mortality; worsening morbidity and mortality index in the health system as well as collapsed infrastructures in hospitals. 

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“Others include: Fake drug syndrome (as a result of the inexperience administration and management of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH); incessant health workers strikes and diminished productivity and stagnation of wages, allowances and benefits of non-physician health workers.”

He maintained that the last three (3) successive dispensations where Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Prof. Isaac Adewole and the incumbent, Dr. Osagie Enahire have presided in that order since 2011, a seeming death knell has been dangling on Nigeria’s health system because the inexperienced physicians literally turned the FMoH into an official annex of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) secretariat. 

“Some of the landmark ineptitude of these three past and incumbent ministers include: A determined bid to frustrate the specialist programmes of all non-physician health workers especially those that clamoured for consultant status. 

“For almost 30 years, prior to the January 6, 2014 strike of the health workers, no non-physician health worker in the FHI was allowed to get to the peak of his career as director on the equivalent of GL 17 because the Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) and the physicians caucus in the FHI deliberately twisted the provisions of the University Teaching Hospital Act to imply that it provided for only two directors which were in the administrative and clinical services directorate of the hospitals. Some of the CMDs have glaringly refused to implement existing FMoH circulars. 

“Others are the deliberate frustration of every attempt to implement appropriate wages for health workers despite CBAs MOLLs, agreement etc by the FMoH. A striking one remains the determined efforts of the FMoH to frustrate the adjustment of CONHESS as was done with CONMESS since 2014. 

“The trio of Chukwu, Adewole and incumbent Enahire, all dis-countenanced various court judgements to recognize Medical Laboratory Science as an autonomous  profession which must be regulated and controlled by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN). The status quo in most hospitals today is that pathologists have forced themselves as the Head of Medical Laboratories in Nigeria hospitals contrary to extant laws. 

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