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How to ensure synergy among healthcare professionals


President and Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan Society of Health System Pharmacists, Mr. Abdul Latif Sheikh (left); President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed I. Yakasai and Representative of Nigerian Association of Industrial Pharmacists, Dr. Lolu Ojo at the 78th International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at SEC Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Nigeria has continued to grapple with the unending disharmony and unhealthy rivalry among healthcare practitioners, which is said to have contributed to the dysfunctional health system.

The key drivers of the dispute have been listed to include the struggle for superiority, struggle for leadership positions; and the difference in remuneration of health workers of the same grade and different profession, among others, which has festered for decades with no hope of resolution.

Although, the leadership of the various bodies of healthcare professional has clamoured for settlement through the federal government and other policies, the matter seems to linger.

This has been shown through the several incessant indefinite workers’ strike, which was called off after a National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) ruling and intervention, where it directed the parties on May 30, 2018 to subject themselves to the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre of the NICN.

Although, the process has been on for over 10 weeks now, there are no reports from both parties on the suit, due to claims that the court rules forbid giving out any report.

Meanwhile, The Guardian learnt that the major outstanding issue as of May 31, 2018, when the Federal Government and JOHESU negotiations was deadlocked, was the refusal of the government to approve enough funds to cater for the adjustment of the Consolidate Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) Scale as was done with the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) Scale.

As part of measures to push for resolution, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), has called for effective synergy to address the dispute in the country’s health system.

The President, PSN, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, who discussed the “Synergy among Healthcare Practitioners” at the final day of the All Fellows Congress of National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, said effective teamwork is an essential tool to resolve the dispute among health professionals.

He said fostering communication with teamwork would help create a better working environment, which is important to patient-centred health service delivery, care and safety.

He stressed that lack of teamwork leads to poor coordination and utilization of patient care, patient dissatisfaction, medical errors and increase in death of patients.

“The outcomes achieve due to synergy among the healthcare practitioners is far better than when each healthcare practitioner works in isolation.

Even drugs work better when they work synergistically in which one drug increases the other’s effectiveness.

“When there is synergy among healthcare practitioners, it is easier to form a holistic view of patient needs and care. Each healthcare practitioner holds a piece of the puzzle and bringing all these pieces together enables a better outcome for the patient,” he stressed.

Yakasai stressed that, to achieve a successful synergy among healthcare practitioners, it should begin with inter-professional education, where pharmaceutical, medical and other healthcare students should receive training on why, what and how to work effectively as a team with other healthcare practitioners during early years in institutions.

This, he said, would spur them to collaborate with other healthcare providers during their practice years.

Speaking on the superiority in the healthcare profession, the PSN president lamented over the title “Dr”, which he said should not be used by any of the healthcare professionals, except for the doctorate degree, PhD.

He suggested that the, while the medical doctors should use the initials “MD”, the pharmacists should use “Doctor of Pharmacy or PharmD”.

This, he said, is very trivial knowing fully well that even hawkers or traditionalist, known as “babalawos” in Nigeria are “Doctors”.

“The question here is what is in a title? I prefer to be a leader without a title. PharmD degree is to provide and equip pharmacists with specialized clinical pharmacy training that focuses on the development of professional competencies and confidence in the provision of evidence-based patient oriented care.

All we care is the patient and PharmD/Consultancy Cadre has come to stay,” Yakasai stressed.

He, however, noted that all the professions in the healthcare system need each other to take the healthcare delivery of the country to great heights of achievements.

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