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Sunday, January 18, 2015

CRISIS IN THE HEALTH SECTOR

  Nobody likes to be taken for granted. People get discouraged when their efforts are seen as nothing and another’s as greater. It builds a huge feeling of inferiority and hatred for the loved party.
  Right from the days of old, doctors have always been considered a big deal; they’ve always had nurses and other health professionals that work with them to ensure the health of the people. It’s the norm. It doesn’t mean the nurses and other medical workers are inferior, it’s just the way it is but doesn’t stop them from feeling inferior?
  In all the great medical Television shows that have been made ,from  Grey’s anatomy to house, Hart of Dixie to ER, emphasis has always been on the doctors, I’m yet to see any made about other medical professionals except Hawthorne and ...ok, I’m blank. The emphasis is not on the doctors because they are more important but they are the head of the team. It’s the fact.
  Everyone loves doctors. You hear some girls sing they must marry a doctor, parents and other members of societies welcome doctors but not other medical professionals. People get better in the hospitals, they come back to show appreciation and it’s the doctors they give the presents to; how are these the doctors fault?
  Back to the main story; there’s been an ongoing strike two months plus now by the JOHESU (Joint health staff union) and other professional medical bodies. I’m sure most Nigerians are clueless about this. They’ve been on numerous strikes. The last before this, the federal hospitals were kept running by the doctors who doubled up as nurses, radiologists, etc. This time, they went ahead to lock up all hospital equipment, medicine, forms and what not before embarking on the strike.  You can’t have any surgery done in any federal hospital, you can’t even be admitted. The doctors are trying their best.
  I have family and friends on the opposite sides.  I asked my friends who are members of JOHESU and they went on rants about doctors. So, I investigated further. Some of the reasons for the JOHESU strike are: they want to be addressed as consultants; they want to be made CMDs (chief medical directors in hospitals).
  Please, pick up your dictionary or Google the term ‘Consultant’, how does this tally with what they do? Let’s be sincere, do you stroll into a hospital to consult with a nurse, a lab scientist, a radiologist, a pharmacist etc? Would you be satisfied if they operate on you? Or diagnose your illness? The pharmacists argue that they make the drugs; hence they should be the ones to prescribe them, not doctors. Where in the world is that done? Even in the US, no one will sell you drugs in any pharmacy or drugstore without a doctor’s prescription.
  Who should be made a Chief Medical Director of a hospital? I leave that to you to answer. Some hospitals are run by boards, ok most are but the chief Medical Directors are always either doctors or management personnel.
  Remember when doctors went on strike and Nigerians rose up to castigate and curse them, well, here are the reasons why they went on that strike. Most of the reasons stated were for their patients. Do you know, if that doctor treating you has a prick or anything e.g. during the Ebola crisis, five thousand Naira is what covers their lives (hazard).

 
 

  
   Here are the reasons for the JOHESU two months plus strike.
“I. Adjustment of CONHESS salary as done for the NMA in the same sector.
ii. Payment of Arrears on skipping of CONHESS 10 since year 2010.
iii. Promotion of our members from CONHESS 14 to 15 for over ten years.
iv. Appointment of our members as Chief Medical Directors.
v. Abolition of the post of Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee.
vi. Immediate circularization of retirement age of Healthcare workers from 60 to 65 years.
vii. Immediate payment of arrears of Specialist allowance to all Hospital based Healthcare Professionals who possess relevant post graduate qualification that is, MSc, Phd or post graduate fellowship who had attained the Consultant grade level 14 in the public service or CONHESS 13 in the Teaching Hospital sector and above.
viii. Immediate release of circular amending the extant circular for Medical Laboratory Scientists Interns to include post NYSC placement on grade level 09 step 2 and the upgrading of stale Officers across board.
ix. Others.  “

  I do not blame them for stating their grievances but what happened to the patients they are meant to care for? Thanks to a government that is interested in polls, every time they go on strike because they’re a union and elections are near, nothing happens. They want to earn more than the doctors, etc what about your patients?
  In the Nigerian Education system, most students from science class apply for medicine in the universities but most are bumped down to Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Pharmacy etc. Some do get into Medical school only to fail and then fall back on the other medical science courses. So all that plus treatment from people, this is the result.  Does the fact that they aren’t doctors make their work any less important? NO! They don’t seem to be professionals enough to understand this; every field has its leader. You can be great in your field with years of experience, working with doctors and other members of the team, it still doesn’t make you a doctor. Yeah, medical doctors have been called pompous right from medical school, truth be told, if I knew as much as they did about the human body and be able to save a life, pass exams after going through hordes of textbooks, diseases and etc, the confidence oozing out of me would be awesome, you’d hate me for it.
  It’ like a bailiff, going up in arms against judges and saying, he’s been there for years, what do judges know that he doesn't. He should be and deserves to be made the Chief Judge of a state etc. It’s not possible! You have to pass through the necessary steps.
  A gaffer in a film production company says he should be put in charge of a movie production and the director of the film should answer to him, everyone should answer to him not the director. That’s sheer madness. It’s the director that is recognized mainly when films are out but does it make the other professionals that worked on the film less important? NO! But it doesn't make them directors either.
  I can understand the pain in being neglected and looked down upon, it’s not the doctors’ fault. Doctors don’t work alone, they work with you, you’re an important member of their team, and I think doctors need to recognise this if they don’t. It still doesn’t make you a doctor.
 It’s sad that they’ve been on strike over two months now and no one has really noticed, not the government, not the people. Doctors went on strike the last time and within a day, the news was everywhere. We should learn to appreciate other health workers, not just doctors who are professionals in their fields but it doesn’t make them doctors still.
  Everyone should take pride in their work. Even the Holy Books say it. I hope the Nigerian government because of elections and votes don’t do something that hasn’t been done anywhere in the world and listen to words borne out of sentiments, insecurity and inferiority complex. (Well, anything goes in Nigeria, sadly)
  If you feel envious of doctors, think you deserve to be like them, get the respect, deserve to be called a consultant, be made a CMD, it’s never too late, do it the right and professional way, go back to medical school and go through the process: medical school, houseman ship, NYSC, primaries, junior residency, senior residency and then become a consultant.
  Please let’s end this unending animosity for doctors and be the professionals that we are. Your work is important in a hospital; I recognise and appreciate this, everyone should too. Doctors, appreciate your team, and Nigerians encourage and appreciate them too. It still doesn’t make you a doctor, a consultant or a CMD candidate.  
  Let’s all join hands and make our health sector better. There are things that need to be fought for (top priority). We need doctors and every health worker to be the team they should be and save our lives. I say a big thank you to all health workers. Be the professionals that you are.

 (Imagine if the JOHESU set grievances aside and teamed up with the doctors to push for a raise in their fees, health hazard, better hospitals and National health insurance e.t.c. together. Just a thought)

10 comments:

  1. Well said! You couldn't have said it better. In Nigeria, it all boils down to the pockets, people don't consider the common good.

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  2. What a Brilliant Write up, I wish everyone see it this way.

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  3. Well , Frances you said it all. But d only thing that will bail the health system is a responsible govt. acting as a firm, impartial arbiter.

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  4. Well written and truthful piece. I don't know why our health workers want to operate in isolation. Because it appears what they are asking for is not obtainable in other countries. Why are they different from their colleagues elsewhere in Africa, UK and even America.

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  5. Please a point of correction, radiologists are doctors that specializes in imaging. They are not members of JOHESU. A good piece though.

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  6. Please a point of correction, radiologists are doctors that specializes in imaging. They are not members of JOHESU. A good piece though.

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  7. Well said! I have family and friends as members of JOHESU and the daily practice of medicine and patient's satisfaction is almost impossible without them.

    Let's make the patient's interest our top priority remembering that we've been one at a time and might be again as long as we are alive. We have family members and friends who fall sick occasionally so in the end what we put into the health sector is what we would get when we need it.
    Don't be the reason why you lost a family member or a friend. Put in your best, use your conscience and contribute to good governance so in the end your would have a clear conscience.

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  8. I wish I can post this for everyone to read. Who is this Frances?

    ReplyDelete

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