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AGPMPN decries assault, multiple taxation, levies on facilities

By Azeez Etiwon
31 December 2021   |   3:16 am
Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Lagos Chapter has frowned against the continuous harassment, intimidation, physical assault, and exploitation by the Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency...

Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Lagos Chapter has frowned against the continuous harassment, intimidation, physical assault, and exploitation by the Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) on its members practicing in the state. The association alleged deliberate attempt to stifle private medical practice and run practitioners out of business in Lagos State, owing to the myriad of obstacles placed in their way. The association cited the recent case of one its members, a 73-year old medical practitioner, Dr Ademola Oladosu, who was physically assaulted and intimidated by a team from HEFAMAA after an unannounced routine monitoring and supervision exercise at his medical facility.

The Chairman, AGPMPN, Lagos Chapter, Dr Makinde Akinlemibola, said the agency, which is the brainchild of private medical practitioners in a bid to curb quackery has left the purpose it was created for and turned into revenue-generation. He said rather than go after quacks that are now thriving in Lagos, the agency now sees qualified and licensed medical practitioners as victims, which they intimidate, harass and exploit. Akinlemibola said whenever there is any allegation or suspected misconduct, HEFAMAA shuts down the facility even before investigation, sending staff and patients home thus doing incalculable damage to the facility’s image and then imposing a fine even without investigation, adding that once the fine is paid, the facility is reopened.

“It is obvious that the agency is only interested in shutting down a facility for the sole purpose of money making, and after collecting the ‘fine’, the facility is reopened without any investigation or correction. We have been observing some dangerous trends against many of our member’s practices, many of which have been shut down over spurious and unfounded allegations and made to pay fines,” he stressed.

Akinlemibola noted that in a bid to further their revenue drive and the milking of private medical practitioners, the agency contracted private medical facility monitoring to franchisees who are their cronies and then impose arbitrary fines on hospitals in the name of monitoring, thereafter share the revenue generated between the agency and the franchisees.

The association also decried Government seeing hospitals as private businesses, thereby imposing all sorts of taxes and levies from Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) LIRS to Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) medical and domestic waste bills, tenement rate, radio and television levies.

Akinlemibola said LAWMA charges N100, 000 for domestic waste and N2, 500 for medical waste per month, adding that without documents from the agency showing the medical facility is up to date with the payment, HEFAMAA will not renew their license.

Akinlemibola stressed that despite calls and letters written to the Government and national medical body to address the issue of physical assault and harassment on private medical practitioners, there has been no response on the issue.

He said if it continues like that, the association will have no choice that to seek legal redress, noting that it is open to dialogue to ameliorate the situation.

“We the private medical doctors say no to all the debasement of our practices and indeed the health sector, A situation that has brought so low as to being physically assaulted by officers of a Government monitoring agency is totally unacceptable, Despite several reach outs to the Lagos State Government through the State Ministry of Health as well as directly to the Governor, we are amazed that ou pathetic treatments have been swept under the carpet.

“The entire membership of the Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners in the Lagos State wish to unequivocally state that we are very uncomfortable with the atmosphere being created by HEFAMAA,” he added.