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Should Non-doctors Head health Institutions?

The Joint Health Sector Unions on Tuesday insisted that the headship of public hospitals in the country should not be the exclusive right of medical doctors.

They also faulted the claims by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and the Nigerian Medical Association that their recent protest in which they called for the minister's sack was political and amounted to blackmail.

According to them, their agitation is in line with industrial relations practices worldwide.

But Chukwu, while reacting to the health workers' demand in an interview with our correspondent, said medical doctors would continue to head hospitals because it would not be right to impose other professionals on physicians.

He said, "The Chief Justice of Nigeria is a lawyer; and the CJN is both the administrator and the technical expert as far as the judiciary is concerned. So, why should it be different in medicine? The hospital is the only place that is totally the doctor's territory. Every other person there is in support system."

But the joint workers' union, in a statement jointly signed by its chairman, Dr. Ayuba Wabba, and Secretary, Mr. Yussuf Badmus, on Tuesday, stated that hospital administration should not be the exclusive right of medical doctors alone.

JOHESU comprises the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Nigeria Union of Pharmacists, Medical Technologist and Professions Allied to Medicine and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions.

JOHESU stated, "A major grouse of our coalition is the continued exclusive role of medical practitioners as the chief executive of hospitals. We have argued in line with international best practices that the skills required for that administrative office are quite distinct from the clinical skills of a medical doctor.

"The facts on ground prove that they have grossly mismanaged these institutions because they do not possess the administrative training and experience required for the office. International best practices recommend professionally-certified and experienced health service/hospital administrators to manage the institutions.



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