Really, the recent strike embarked upon by other health professionals in the enlarged health sector nationwide minus the medical doctors during which time Nigerians noted the importance of those health professionals was a welcome development. It has clearly shown the world that no one cadre in the enlarged health sector can lay claim to being an Island in health matters.
I commend my professional colleague, Ayuba Wabba, who is the Chairman of Joint Health Sector Union, and all his lieutenants for embarking on the strike. They have proved to the world that not only the medical personnel serve patients in the hospital.
In Nigeria, all other health professionals have always been treated with contempt and ignominy by many of the Ministers of Health appointed so far. Apart from a few of them (such as Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti), others had recognised and worked for the progress of the doctors only in the federal/state ministries of health. While the appointed ‘Ministers of Doctors’ and their professional colleagues continue to think about themselves only, they do next to nothing to remember other professionals in the enlarged health sector. They claim superiority always, and most of them appointed into health management and administration often advise governments wrongly on health matters, which is why Nigeria has continued to take the rear in health and human services indices all along, as these doctors continue to dictate the tunes in health sector and occupy every position available!
In the beginning, doctors embraced all other health professionals working with them. For example, Drs. Isaac Oluwole and Dalhatu Talfida founded Environmental Health profession in Nigeria and EHORECON that regulates the profession today in Nigeria respectively. But today’s doctors hold sway in the health sector, claiming that they are best for that mainly because of their training, even in Public Health establishments. It is important to remind all that while nearly all other health professionals were mere diploma holders in the past and, therefore, felt inferior before all the doctors who had graduated in MBBS baseline qualification, it is no longer like that today!..
Today, the story is totally different and the earlier the doctors note this, the better for them. As it takes five credits in English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology for someone to read Medicine in the university, ditto others who apply to read Pharmacy, Nursing, Medical Lab, Environmental Health, Human Nutrition, etc; and as a doctor in any health institution rises to the peak of his profession (may be, to become a director in his field of study in his department), so do all other degree-holding health professionals in the enlarged health sector today! It is because of this that no degree-holding health professional should feel inferior to any other health professional who has a degree as himself, whether medical or otherwise! Let me advise the federal government to stop appointing only medical doctors as ministers of health.
Arochukwu, Abia State.