Hospital Pharmacists Condemn MDCAN’s Rejection of Amendment to University Teaching Hospitals Act

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Say it negates global best practices

Hospital Pharmacists Condemn MDCAN's Rejection of Amendment to University Teaching Hospitals Act
AHAPN’s logo

Pharmacists under the aegis of Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) have decried the recent outcry of members of Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) against the proposed Bill seeking amendment to the University Teaching Hospitals Act, Cap U15 LFN 2004, stating that such movement negatives global best practices.

Recent reports attributed to the President of MDCAN, Dr Victor Makanjuola, stated that the association rejects the Bill to amend the University Teaching Hospitals Act, noting that the training of the medical and dental professionals gives them a holistic view of all aspects of patient management.

Reacting to the development, hospital and administrative pharmacists, through a press release signed by the National Chairman, AHAPN, Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo and made available to pharmanewsonline, expressed their utter amazement to the antagonism of the Bill by MDCAN, questioning its mission as “cog in the wheel of progress” of the nation’s comatosed healthcare delivery system.

Contrary to MDCAN’s view, AHAPN maintained that the proposed Bill is to reposition and revive Nigeria’s deteriorating health system that has placed her health indices among the worst in the global ranking of the health indices, 189th position out of 191 countries that were rated. It is so pathetic that in spite of the billions of naira being pumped into the health sector, the health indices have continued to nose-dive.

According Ogunjemiyo “It therefore, sounds very absurd and unimaginable how MDCAN will act as a “cog in the wheel of progress” of our health system by accusing the non-physicians of being the brain behind sponsoring of this bill. The bitter truth is that Nigeria and her citizenries are bigger than the selfish interest of MDCAN who will never ever want the wind of positive change blowing across the globe to blow in our health system.

“What should be utmost importance to the MDCAN should have been to restructure and reposition our Health System to be in line with the International Best Practices to avert the causes of unnecessary and frivolous medical tourism as is being witnessed today due to our faulty health system.

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“Contrary to the erroneous claims by the MDCAN that such proposed Bill portends serious present and future risks to the effective running of the Federal Government Tertiary Hospitals with the consequential poor outcomes on our patients, this proposed Bill intends to do the contrary. It is on record that countries operating such or similar proposed structure have demonstrated an undebatable, conspicuous and incontrovertible evidences of positive health impacts on their citizens.

“Countries like US, UK, Canada and many other African countries practicing the proposed system have unequalled or unparalleled enviable height in terms of far better health indices, more accessibilities to health and better health coverage for their citizenries. No country or society will continue to fashion or reposition its health system primarily based on history of evolution of various professions but based on the present or future realities.

“Even judging from the history of the evolution of the various health disciplines, it is undisputable that the origin of health actually emanated from the use of herbs (drugs) which is pharmacognosy as seen in pharmacy. Without dispute, pharmacy as a profession has even existed before the advent of surgery and the so called Medicine and Surgery as a field. No wonder the Ibos call the hospital “Ulo ogwu” (House of Drugs) just like other tribes do”.

The AHAPN National Chairman, explicitly explained the essence of the proposed Bill, saying having observed a lot of anomalies in the Nigerian Health institutions as compared with the happenings in other climes with better health indices, one of the honourable members of the House of Representatives, Honourable Bamidele Salam, decided to sponsor a Bill that will project the Nigerian health system into the trajectory of best countries with global best practices as obtained by many countries like UK, Canada, USA.

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The bill, according to him, is meant to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (reconstruction of boards, etc) Act Cap U15 LFN 2014. Among other things, it seeks to: change the nomenclature of the heads of tertiary health institution in Nigeria from Chief Medical Director; Redefine the qualifications of the Head of Tertiary Hospitals; Provide a definite tenure of office for the Head of the Tertiary Hospitals; Include students of Health Sciences in the training programmes of tertiary hospitals; Include hospitals established post-enactment of the extant legal framework in the schedule and for other related matters and restructure the composition of the Governing Boards of Federal Government Tertiary Hospitals.

He further argued that globally, the structure in the hospital is such that most hospitals are headed by those called “Hospital Administrators or Hospital President” which could be anyone who has the requisite skills, knowledge and experience. Such requisite skills, knowledge and experience are far beyond what any group of health professional could lay monopoly of. Such skills, knowledge and trainings are beyond what one can gather solely from any medical, pharmaceutical, nursing or any other school. They are more than the clinical skills, knowledge or training needed to handle patients, drugs etc.

To effectively head a hospital, Ogunyemiyo averred that such a person must have possess some administrative, human resources, economic, psychological etc skills, trainings, knowledge and experience. “Knowledge of handling a stethoscope is not and never synonymous to heading a hospital. The insistence by MDCAN that such a post must be its exclusive reserve runs in sharp contrast to the global norms. Again, in most hospitals, the head of pharmacy (Director of Pharmaceutical Services), Director of Nursing Services and other heads of other clinical and non- clinical services directly report to the Hospital Administrators or Hospital President in matters relating to administration and not passing through a physician”.

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Additionally, he made a comparison of the situation to what obtains abroad saying in the provision of care to the patient, the physician remains the head of the medical team and not the hospital administrator which is always thrown open to relevant professionals with the requisite knowledge, skills/trainings. In fact, most hospital administrators are accountants or lawyers etc abroad. Among the clinicians, more nurses head the hospitals than any other clinician in countries like Canada. The existence of Hospital Administrators has even allowed the core clinicians to concentrate more attention to providing medical, pharmaceutical, nursing, nutritional, psychological etc care to patients.

“It is also unbelievable and shocking to listen to the argument by the physicians that this purposed bill, which is targeted to uplift the health standards of most Nigerians by guaranteeing full care (medical, nursing, pharmaceutical, nutritional, etc), is being jettisoned by the body of Nigerian physicians.

“It also very insulting and a mark of highest level of ignorance for a body of Nigerian physicians to project the highly noble efforts of members of the National Assembly as an attempt to strangulate and suffocate the already comatose Nigerian state of health. Why must our physicians continue to enjoy the current lopsided structure of health system which bleed most of our patients financially and deprive them of most collaborative care from other core clinicians?

“Let it be known and re-iterated that Nigeria is bigger than any group of people, hence Nigeria must not be left behind in the current wind of positive change blowing in our health system.MDCAN, APCOM etc should even be the ones who should have initiated this wonderful Bill which is meant to bring life into the comatose nature of our present health system” he quipped.

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