RE: APPROVED SCHEMES OF SERVICE FOR PHARMACY CONSULTANT CADRE IN THE FEDERAL CIVIL/PUBLIC SERVICE:
The attention of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) has been drawn to the above captioned Press Release of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Aniekeme Uwah on September 16, 2020. NMA in the said Press Release rejected the circular on approved Scheme of Service for Pharmacist Consultancy cadre in Federal Public Service.
For the umpteenth time, the NMA took its disdain for other health professionals to a ridiculous climax by positing that it was “Finding a permanent solution to this unwarranted assault on the integrity of our noble profession.” One cannot help rationalizing the logic of the above statement as it remains incomprehensible how approval of a Consultant cadre in Pharmacy practice would amount to an assault on the integrity of Medical practice in Nigeria.
After a careful appraisal of all the issues raised by NMA, JOHESU/AHPA wishes to put on record as reflected thus:
1. Perhaps it is fundamental to reiterate the age-long belief that the patient remains the focus in the value-chain of healthcare delivery. The nature of healthcare is changing everyday with new emerging clinical disease states (COVID-19) and quest for treatment and management of same.
These challenges come with more complications in patient therapy especially when care providers have to deal with multiple disease states in one patient. To optimize therapeutic outcome in patient-care in today’s world, a Pharmacist needs the right knowledge to help support our patients.
Physicians also need in-patient clinical support of Pharmacists to excel and to compel a boost in competencies of care-givers across board in the country.
The whole concept of collaborative qualities in the Health team must therefore abhor pecuniary interests and gains in the ultimate interest of the patient.
2. We need to counsel the obviously ignorant leadership of the NMA that healthcare is not an indigenous practice novel to Nigeria and its many under-achieving propensities. Healthcare cannot be driven by the egocentric proclivities of Nigerian Doctors, but by global best practices. Nigerian Doctors are quick to mouth best practices when it suits them, but suffer selective amnesia when it comes to leveraging on appropriate benefit packages for all members of the Health team. For the records, Nigerian Pharmacists have been graduating Consultant Pharmacists (WAPCP) since 1997 which transcends to a whopping 23 years without recognition of their hard earned skills. While Government pays for the residency training of Doctors through the WAPCP in the minimum five year duration of the training which cost over N2M per student. Since 2011, the National Council on Establishment (NCE) approved the Consultant Pharmacist cadre but the antics of the many Doctor bureaucrats in sensitive segments of the Federal Public Service completely frustrated the circularization of the NCE approval until nine years later in 2020. As far back as 2015, past leaderships of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) facilitated the approval by Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) of a circular for residency training of Pharmacists in the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) which was negated by respective Boards of Management and CEOs of the FHIs.
While the Consultant Pharmacist cadre was almost truncated here in Nigeria, the cadre has been deeply rooted in countries like Ghana and Sierra Leone which are lesser endowed member-countries of the WAPCP to the consternation of Consultant Pharmacists in Nigeria.
The circularization of the Consultant Pharmacist cadre is in tandem with international best practice across the globe from the U.K, U.S.A, France, and Australia to African countries including Ghana, Sierra-Leone, Egypt and South Africa.
We therefore urge Nigerian Doctors to shun the unrealisable utopia that the world is all theirs for the taking. Whether Nigerian Doctors like it or not, the time has come for new realities that will open the door for the Consultant cadre in Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Radiography and all the other Health professionals in this clime just like it has now happened in Pharmacy.
3. This discourse becomes the perfect one to call on all State Government and Local Government Ares to institute the Consultant Cadre for Pharmacists and indeed eligible Health workers across board. We particularly call on H.E. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to without further delay and conditionalties lift the unfortunate suspension imposed on the Consultant cadre for Pharmacists in the employment of Lagos State Government in 2018 by former Gov. Akinwumi Ambode. The May, 2018 approval of this cadre in 2018 was a product of JOHESU-LASG negotiations which was sacrificed by the Ambode administration to satisfy the yearnings of the NMA under the Faduyile led administration of that era.
We remind the LASG that if it does not ameliorate the fall-outs of the Consultant Pharmacist cadre, it will be difficult to trust and rely on resolutions at future parleys with it.
4. Ordinarily, it should be within the rights and liberties of any citizen/citizens of Nigeria to indulge in speciality skill acquisition without an unwholesome meddlesomeness by another group of Nigerians because the Nigerian Constitution establishes with clarity, the basis of our citizenship as freeborn. Nobody can hold down the quest for growth and self-development of others. It has become the norm in our dear country for Doctors to demand what they perceive is good for them and then go ahead to impose standards on what can be approved for any other stakeholder in the Nigerian spice.
Much as we tolerated this condemnable act which is akin to imposing superiority complex on other health workers by Doctors in the past, we put Doctors on a final notice that these idiotic propensities will no longer be tolerated by our esteemed membership. If Nigerian Doctors refuse to purge themselves from a recurrent grandeur of delusion which has only allowed our Health system drift to a precipice, then they leave us with no choice than to meet them with dignity at their famed level of infamy.
5. For too long, the NMA through its so-called National Officers Committee (NOC) has always intimidated the FG and State Governments with threats of varying nature especially that of strike actions and withdrawal of services. We remind Government at all levels again that NMA and its affiliates like NARD and MDCAN are not Trade Unions and so logically they should not be granted privileges to negotiate Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and MOUs on behalf of its members.
This matter is presently being challenged by the JOHESU at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Ibadan Division to stop the abuse obviously aided by Government inaction. It is important to sound it loud and clear now to Government at all levels that we shall tackle the NMA breath for breath, meter for meter on this subject matter of Consultancy cadre.
If Government concedes to NMA pressure to attempt to sabotage the approval already given our kith and kin on this occasion, we shall respond in like manner to meet Government at any level it allows the NMA to push the matter.
Finally, we call on Nigerians who are familiar with the dynamics of modern day Healthcare delivery to help the section of Nigerian Doctors who continue to behave like itinerant health quacks who have gotten used to usurping the rights, privileges and benefits of others in the value-chain of healthcare in Nigeria to desist forthwith.
God bless our country Nigeria.