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Health workers push for FMC bill for improved reforms

By Adaku Onyenucheya
13 December 2018   |   1:49 am
The Joint Health Workers Unions (JOHESU) has pushed for the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) bill amendment with the aim to cater for all the Federal Medical Centres in Nigeria and also serve as a reform to the health sector.

The Joint Health Workers Unions (JOHESU) has pushed for the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) bill amendment with the aim to cater for all the Federal Medical Centres in Nigeria and also serve as a reform to the health sector.

In its submission, the health workers unions stated that the existing University Teaching Hospital Act CAP U15 LFN, 2004 is just one Act of parliament that binds all Federal Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria and in that spirit, the unions clamour for a single Act to cater for Federal Medical Centres in the country.

The unions comprising of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) noted that this opportunity of Federal Medical Centre bill affords them a major ground for health reforms in the country. The union also submitted that the paradigm shift in this agenda is that the major stakeholders in health sector will have an opportunity with the representation listed in this paper to be involved in the day-to-day decision and policies in healthcare management.

This was stated in a copy of JOHESU’s submission on the proposed FMC bill made available to The Guardian by the health workers union, describing it as a major reform agenda in the health sector.

The FMC bill highlighted many areas which is responsible for the negative induces in the health sector which include leadership of several positions of importance, inclusion in policy making, recognition, training facilities, discrimination among others.

These grey areas, according to the unions of health workers came as a result of the advent of the Teaching Hospital Act. Cap U15 LFN 2004, which it said gives preference to medical doctors to head positions of importance in the health sector.

In the copy of the FCM bill, it was stated that the negative indices in the health sector, which the country has had to contend with is directly traceable to leadership deficiency inherent in the training and the subsequent output of medical doctors who have been imposed as heads of Health facilities in Nigeria.

JOHESU has again put it on record that Healthcare is a global practice, which sets norms in international best practices, which according to them “does not dictate that Medical Doctors should be appointed as Head of Medical facilities.”

They noted that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is a global health body, the Director General who is the World’s number one health worker is not a medical doctor, stressing that the body must redress a structure which places Nigeria’s health system as 187 out of 191 rated health system by the WHO. JOHESU stressed that “Nigeria needs to go back to the era when seasoned administrators were in charge of the various hospitals. University College Hospital Ibadan was one of the top five facilities in the whole of the Common wealth in this dispensation and was led by administrators who were designated as House governors.

“The above submission is in tune with the spirit of Section 42a & b of the 1999 Constitution which prohibits discrimination against any citizen of Nigeria on the basis of gender, social cultural, religious, political and professional affiliations.”

Section 9(1) of the bill reads: “ There shall be for the Medical Centre a Chief Executive Officer who shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Board and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in his letter of appointment or as may be determined, from time to time, by the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission.
“(2)(a) The Chief Executive Officer shall be the accounting officer of the Medical Centre.”

On the proposed membership of the Management Board of each Federal Medical Centre controlled by the Government of the Federation and listed in the schedule to this Act shall, according to the bill consist of:“Chairman who shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister of Health. The Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Medical Centre.”
Section 8 of the bill states that facilities for the training of students in all the Health Professions should be provided.

“The government has responsibility to ensure total and unhindered access to training to all component members of the health team. This promotes a collaborative spirit and the often-emphasised team approach in healthcare, fix terms and conditions of service, including remuneration of the employees of the Medical Centre in line with appropriate schemes of service subject to the approval of National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission.”

According to JOHESU, the ACT seeks to provide the legal framework to establish the Federal Medical Centres and for related matters, noting that Federal Medical Centre and the Medical Centre should replace the hospital should read Federal Medical Centres.

The bill sated that the provisions of the Federal Medical Centre Act shall be applicable to all the underlisted Federal Medical Centres in Nigeria, which include: FMC, Abeokuta, Ogun State, FMC, Asaba, Delta State, FMC Abuja, FMC Azare, Bauchi State, FMC Bida, Niger State, FMC, Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, FMC, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State, FMC Ebute-Meta, Lagos State, FMC Gombe, Gombe State, FMC, Gusau, Zamfara State, FMC Jalingo, Taraba State, FMC Katsina, Katsina State, FMC Keffi, Nasarawa State, FMC Lokoja, Kogi State, FMC Makurdi, Benue State, FMC Nguru, Yobe State, FMC Owerri, Imo State, FMC Owo, Ondo State, FMC Umuahia, Abia State, FMC Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and FMC Yola, Adamawa State.