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A SURGEON-GENERAL: The Solution or An Agenda

Monday 04:08:2014

As the Nationwide doctors' strike by the NMA lingers into it's 5th week!!!, one wonders if ever the demands of the Nigerian Medical Association will be met by the Federal Government and how effective the withdrawal of service embarked upon since the 1st of July would have been.

But what exactly is the way forward?

The strike by doctors' or the other health workers is fast becoming a yearly routine, maybe not always at the National level , but sometimes in key states like Lagos, were the burden of healthcare is greatest considering the population.

There have being calls for the establishment of the Office of the Surgeon-General of the Federation in Nigeria in the past few months and in fact the theme of the NMA Annual General Meeting held last week was "Improving the Healthcare Delivery of Nigeria, The Role of the Surgeon General of the Federation.

The Question is whether the creation of such an office will put an end to the frequent strike actions which have often being on the basis of policies, infrastructure, welfare packages and agreements on same.

There is indeed a bill to these end, which was sponsored a while back by Senator Olorunimbe Mamora. The NMA like most doctors believe the appointment of  a Surgeon-General who will be the Chief Medical or Health Adviser of the country will be  beneficial to the health sector, reduce political interference in the operations of the nation’s health sector and help mitigate industrial disharmony and its attendant incessant withdrawal of service that has plagued the sector in recent times.

There is however a huge outcry by the ever opposing Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), as well as the Nigerian pharmacists under the umbrella body of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)and the Nurses and Midwives Association of Nigeria (NAMN), who believe there is no need for the office and continue to resist it's creation.

One concern raised by the Nursing body is the said tendency of medical doctors to hijack every appointment in the health sector and are determined to oppose appointment of a doctor as the Surgeon-General if and when the office is established. 

What then is the way forward if nearly every move of the Government to seek a lasting solution to the problems in the health sector in order to salvage a continually decaying health sector will be frustrated by this ugly inter-professional rivalry which has never augured well for the sector ???

Are we looking at more strike actions from the other professional bodies if some of the demand of the striking doctors are met?

Should the Doctors submit their roles as the head of the medical team to the other professionals?

Is there a way to make every party happy?

Where do we go from here???

Courtesy: Medic-All. Inc 2014

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