Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Health

Health house of commotion – Guardian Nigeria

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Doctor with a stethoscope Photo: Getty Images
The Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the last six months.
First it was an interregnum that has seen the position of CMD in OAUTHC vacant for almost 2 years despite the erstwhile CMD serving a 2 term tenure lasting 8 years leaving more than enough time to put in place a substantive head. The hospital which has been running on autopilot since that time has even had the inglorious record a few weeks ago of have 3 people serve in an acting capacity in the space of a few weeks. Then the next drama in the FMOH was the appointment of a substantive CMD in the National Hospital Abuja which similarly took a tortuous course of several interviews, cancelled interviews, some shortlisting and then cancellations of same shortlist and then finally a new CMD, a greenhorn who had never held any significant administrative position was appointed, the candidate who came 6th out of the many applicants in the final list. Before this the board has expressed their ire over the disregard of the first 3 candidates sent to the president to choose from which he declined.
Then there was the case of three new federal Medical centers/teaching hospitals which had 2 different people in each of them being issued with letters of appointment as CMDs by the minister of health and the minister of state for health respectively in the twilight of the last PMB regime. This has remained unresolved since.
Another case highlighting the chaos in the health sector was the case of LUTH where 2 former CMACs (next In hierarchy to the CMDs) were engaged in a contest to fill the vacant CMD post.
Curiously one was hurriedly appointed Acting CMD in the midst of the screening/interview process and then equally suspiciously appointed CMD while the new president was just settling down early in June. No one knows if the former president truly signed the appointment on 28th/29th May 2023 in his last hours in office or if an usurper or masquerader signed this letter which the new Permsec of health implemented in his first days in office in June 2023. There are about 6 more federal hospitals which are in limbo with no head or a stalled or prolonged interview process ongoing. One wonders what really is going on in the health ministry. There are suspicions of underhand dealings going on in this process which in saner climes should be seamless. Many fingers are pointing to the former minister of health and the former director of hospital services (who is incidentally now the special adviser on health). It is hoped the incoming minister will put the FMOH in order and restore sanity to this health house of commotion. For if something as routine as selecting those to head the hospitals is so haphazard and opaque how will the real governance in health be?
Adekunle Afolabi
Is a doctor practicing in Lagos
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