Qualified professionals should head proposed National Centre for Cancer Research, say pharmacists
• Petition Senate President on amendment of Act establishing centre
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have petitioned the Senate President that medical doctors should not have the exclusive privilege as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Directors General (DG) of health and medical research institutions but rather the position should be open to all cadres of qualified health professionals through a competitive process.
The PSN in a letter to the Senate President on the society’s observations of the Amendment Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the National Centre for Cancer Research, which public hearing was held on Monday April 11, 2016, and signed by its National Secretary, Gbolagade Iyiola, noted: “Is it moral to deny research scientists in research institutes like National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Abuja; National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos; Veterinary Research Institute of Nigeria (VRIN) Vom Jos, Plateau State; International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) and other opportunities to emerge CEOs of the proposed cancer centre simply because they do not hold a DR. title.
“At global level today even winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine are not necessarily Medical Doctors, but an array of scientists including pharmacists, microbiologists, biochemists, molecular biologists and so on.”
The PSN said healthcare provider as defined by National Health Act 2014 means person providing services under this act or any other law.
The society in their observation noted: “A person shall not be qualified to be appointed as Director General unless he is a healthcare provider as defined by the National Health Act or a science-based researcher with at least 20 years research and administrative experience in a reputable establishment.”
It noted that “Section 42 (1) a & b of the 1999 Federal Constitution guarantees freedom from discrimination. It states inter-alia ‘A citizens of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic groups, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:
“Be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject, or
“Be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinion.’”
The PSN further noted: “… the 7thNational Assembly approved provisos in the National Health Act, the NHIS bill where exclusive privileges to Medical Doctor as CEOs of relevant health templates to all cadres of qualified personnel through a competitive selection process.”
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