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Friday, 5 June 2015

Doctors urged to unite health professionals

A passionate plea has been made to medical doctors in the health sector to play a leadership role as head of the medical team with a view to ensuring harmony among all health workers and above all better medical outcomes in the management of patients. Also, the need to build effective public health infrastructure in the country has been identified as a major factor in ensuring effective disease prevention, diagnosis and management.

Former Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris made the plea in Lagos during a send forth ceremony in his honour organised by the members of the Association of General Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, AGPMPN, where cream of medical doctors took turns to eulogise him for his achievements in the state ministry of health.

Idris who noted that patients are always at the receiving end when doctors fail to play their leadership role said: “As doctors, we are supposed to be playing leadership role but we don’t seem to be doing that. Playing leadership role does not mean that we should boss our people.

We have to embrace every other person as part of that team. “It is not easy to do but we cannot succeed as doctors if we have to be putting other health workers at a disadvantage. “This is my plea. As leaders in the health sector there are certain things we have to do even if we have to stoop to conquer.” Idris who noted that there are serious infrastructure challenges in the health sector especially at the national level, identified the need to build a proper public infrastructure that would enable the country prevent, diagnose and treat any kind of disease.

He cited the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak as an episode that brought to the fore the need for Nigerian government to build a proper public health infrastructure. “People talk of international health security, what does that mean? As a nation, we must be in a position of providing something that can protect us and be able to prevent any form of disease, whether it is an epidemic or growing disease.

If we cannot prevent, we must be able to diagnose. Having diagnosed we must be able to treat and react appropriately. That is the essence of national health security.” Calling on private practitioners to embrace public private partnership, PPP, he said: “As doctors I believe we are ready for it. In any normal country it is the private sector that runs the health sector and government provides the basic services and the environment for the private sector to thrive.”

 Definition of roles

Corroborating his views, Former Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof Akin Osibogun, said to put an end to the rivalry among health workers, there is need to define people’s responsibility and reduce the politicisation of service delivery. “There should be job description for every cadre so that everybody knows their responsibility clearly.

The politicisation is because of the role of government in direct service provision. Once jobs are clearly defined, the debate will become unnecessary. Why don’t we have strike in the United States every day? There are nurses, pharmacists and doctors there even in the United Kingdom, we have all the professionals why are we not having disputes there?”

On his part, Chairman, Lagos State Association of General Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, AGPMPN, Dr Adeyeye Arigbabuwo said the leadership role of the doctor is not negotiable. “We are in support of NHIS which will invariably usher in universal health coverage.

We know that out of pocket payment is fading out. So we must encourage any initiative that will talk about health insurance. “I will expect the new government to sustain, build and make better any health projects of the outgoing government and whatever area observed as shortcomings, they can drop them or modify them.”
Chioma Obinna Vanguard

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