Infuriated by the alleged stand of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) against the implementation of the planned harmonisation of salaries of health workers in the country, the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) has berated NMA on her opposing stand to the progress of others, asking her to desist from undermining and denigrating other professionals in the health sector.
According to a statement, jointly signed by the National Chairman of AHAPN, Pharm. Martins Oyewole, and the Secretary, Pharm. Jelili Kilani, the association absolutely condemned the statement credited to NMA that “although health workers faced many hazards in the discharge of their duties, their output could not be compared to doctors who performed the bulk of the medical services”.
AHAPN noted that every profession in the healthcare sector has its scheme of service which clearly stipulates job description and corresponding remuneration as approved by the relevant regulatory agencies. “The NMA cannot continue to undermine and denigrate other professionals in the health sector, by virtue of the privileges her members enjoy as ministers of health and headship of federal governmental agencies in the health sector, including federal tertiary health institutions”.
Citing the examples of practices in other developed climes, with the patient as the centre of attraction, the body maintained that every professional has a role to play to ensure optimum patient care. There is nothing fantastic about Nigeria’s healthcare sector today under the leadership by coercion of NMA. It is an open secret that our healthcare sector is in shambles today, due largely to undue territoriality that is the hallmark of Nigerian doctors as against the need to strengthen professionalism.
On the alleged pride of NMA over the professional status and relevance of her members, as allegedly stated, “medical doctors are highly skilled and few in the country, the cut- off mark for medical students is 280 and above”, the hospital pharmacists said that virtually every professional in the healthcare sector, especially the pharmacist, is highly skilled. Pharmacists are even fewer than the medical doctors (compare 40,000 doctors to 20,000 pharmacists) because of the extensive and rigorous training they undergo.
“We state emphatically that cut-off mark is only a relative method of assessing level of intelligence or academic brilliance, and that is why it varies from year to year and from school to school. The true yardstick for measuring intelligence remains Intelligent Quotient (IQ) Test, which remains constant. Some pharmacy schools have same, lower or higher cut-off marks than medicine. Cut off mark is not a guide or indicator of who will be a successful professional. It is easier to change course from Pharmacy or any other science to medicine than to change to Pharmacy – only the best and the toughest survive Pharmacy training”, the statement reads.
It was in this regard that AHAPN called on the Federal Government to go ahead with the implementation of the planned harmonization of healthcare workers’ salaries, adding that it should be based on the outcome of a Job Evaluation Committee Report of 2008 by the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour, and National Salaries Income and Wages Commission.
The body also beseeched the Federal Government to review her policy on appointment of the headship of the Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Tertiary Health Institutions to be rotational among all qualified professionals in the health sector, rather than the statutory selection of only medical doctors as it has been for a while now. “This will engender healthy competition among the healthcare team for the overall good of Nigerian patients. Enough is enough”.