The Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ekiti State, Pharm. Olatunde Joshua Kolapo, has called for equity and justice in the Nigerian healthcare sector, saying that the sector has for long been bedeviled by crises and inter-professional wrangling because of lingering inequity and injustice in government’s handling of the different categories of healthcare professionals. Kolapo, who also doubles as the chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Ekiti State University (EKSU) Chapter, made this call during an exclusive interview with Pharmanews.
The NLC boss who has served the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ekiti State Chapter, in various capacities, including being welfare secretary, financial secretary, secretary general, vice chairman and chairman, said inter-professional harmony and collaboration will continue to elude the country’s health system, until government takes decisive steps to make things work.
“To curtail incessant strike actions, there must be equity and justice among different professionals in the health sector. A situation where a professional will dominate all aspects is not acceptable; therefore, professional wrangling would linger in as much as equity and justice are thrown to the dustbin,” Kolapo said.
Speaking on the issue of the National Association of Government General and Medical Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), Ekiti State Chapter, which raised the alarm over the rate at which its members were leaving government employment over poor welfare and lack of conducive work environment, the NLC chairman played down the saga, saying that the NAGGMDP was only demanding for COVID-19 allowance and skipping and that their request had been granted.
He said, “I am not sure if any state in the southwest has implemented skipping for someone that his entry point is grade level 12. The idea of fighting alone without carrying others in the health sector along is not a good one. I am not even sure if NAGGMDP is a registered trade union.”
Kolapo also addressed the growing concern in some quarters that the present condition of both primary and secondary health facilities in the state are deplorable and worrisome, saying the challenge could best be solved by appointing qualified individuals as commissioners for health as well as permanent secretaries among different professionals in health sector.
According to him, limiting important appointments to medical doctors alone, without considering how qualified they are, is the root cause of failure in the health sector, adding that until something urgent is done, the entire sector might soon collapse.
The labour leader also said that the standard in Nigerian universities today is generally poor. “Lecturers are not committed, like of old, to teaching and research. University funding is another major issue, and university curriculum is not tailored towards development in our society, among others.”
Pharm. Kolapo, a graduate of Pharmacy, University of Jos, and current head of Pharmacy Department, Health Services, EKSU, emerged Merit Award winner of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Ekiti State Branch, 2015; Merit Award Winner of Federation of Ido-Ile Students’ Union National Platform 2014. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration, and board member, Ekiti State Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), among others