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Against Disunity Amidst Nigerian Health Workers

Updated on June 16, 2014

The Retrogressive Direction of the Health Sector

The health sector in Nigeria had been far backward in comparison to how it is now in most developing countries. This is as a result of the opposition to change and disallowing room for flexibility due to the rancour among health workers. The problem of bigotry and proud ambition of the doctors in Nigeria had been left for too long; the wide gap in salary scale is uncalled for and not fair as this makes the doctors beat their chest claiming to be the most qualified to head the health sector both as the federal minister of health and the head of hospitals basing their claim on the fact that they were taught a little of all aspects of the health care delivery. This is a very weak premise and not justifiable, for if that is the case, then Nurses and other clinical health care professionals who hold the same bachelor degree certification with them are also qualified because they also were taught the basics of other health care services. The reason for this diversity in teaching is so that all health workers could first and foremost recognize the importance of the work of each of the other healthcare providers, appreciate it and complement each other as they all work in unison to render health services to the clients.

Dr. Ben Carson's View

Dr Ben Carson dedicated his first neurosurgical accomplishment of separating the Siamese twins to the co-operation of other staffs of the health sectors (Nurses, anaesthetist etc). The care of innocent patients requires the expertise of all health care providers and should not be seen as one person’s job. No one is a champion in the field as success in the work of one depends on the done work of several others. Doctors may have to wait for diagnosis from medical laboratory scientist before they prescribe and nurses may also need to wait for doctor’s prescription to administer the drugs and all this other professionals would have to wait till the nurse nurses the patient to good health state.

Now, are the nurses not more qualified to head the hospital or to be the federal minister of health? As opposed to the section in the health bill that stated that only doctors can head the national hospital commission.

Prof. Eyitayo Lambo's View

Prof. Lambo, the federal minister of health between 2003 and 2007 decried policy somersaults in the health sector. He said any health professional could be the minister of health insisting that it was only a ‘strategic management position’ and not strictly a professional one. He said the professional bodies should be complementary and not competitive. He also said the overall head positions of the health sector both in hospitals and the federation should be made open for all qualified health care providers as this would avoid the lobe sided policy formation that only favours one side which we now see today. The former NMA president Dr. Osaho Enabuele who has been fuelling the discord by uttering words to prove the inferiority of other health care professions to medicine. Is the nurse not the true manager of the hospital wards? Are they not responsible for whatever happens to the patient on the hospital wards? Is the nurse not the major person that decides whether the doctor’s prescription is alright and could be administered to the patient? Of course, the nurse has been closely observing the patient and could give both objective and subjective report of the patient well being or progress in health recovery. The nurses manage every side effect of drugs and symptoms of disease as well as monitoring the total recovery. Who then is rightfully and by practice the manager of the hospital?

My Concluding Story

I will conclude with a story I heard and edited; a young lady had 4 suitors. On a faithful day, the lady was at the river to bath; suddenly she was attacked by a crocodile. As she shouted for help, the whole 4 suitors came around to rescue her. The first one sang songs which lead to distraction of the crocodile as it raises it head with the girl firmly held in its mouth. The second suitor shot arrow at the crocodile and succeeded in killing it; then the 3rd suitor had to swim across the river to rescue and bring the lady out as she was in coma while the last suitor resuscitated the girl and brought her back to life. You may now represent each of the health care profession with the appropriate suitor with respect to their work. The question now is: who among them did the greatest work and is qualified to take the girl as his bride? Obviously, by moral standard each of these suitors is qualified! One is not more qualified than the other to marry this lady. Truely the one that killed the crocodile may also be able to swim and the one that resuscitated the girl may also be a good singer but instead of competing, they rather walked together in unison to achieve the one purpose of saving the girl’s life. We therefore implore the president as well as the committee looking into the issue of rancour amidst health workers and the health bill to make administrative positions of heading the health sectors or hospitals open to all qualified health care providers.

Adesuyi Emmanuel (RN, RM, BNSc)

Owerri, Imo state



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