Medical Consultants advise Jonathan on credentials of next Health Minister

Posted by News Express | 24 October 2014 | 2,563 times

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The Medical Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has drawn out the criteria that the next Minister of Health must possess if he is to succeed in confronting the myriad challenges in the country’s health sector.

The group has also advised President Goodluck Jonathan to “ignore the cacophony of self-serving calls to make political rather professional judgement in the appointment of the next Minister of Health.”

MDCAN President, Dr. Steven Oluwole, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja said: “The next Minister should possess the requisite skills to perform the combined roles, as Professor Chukwu did, until such a time that the understanding of the need to split roles extends beyond the medical profession.

“But should the Minister of Health be merely a medical doctor? No! He must minimally possess a basic degree in medicine and surgery; postgraduate qualification, not necessarily in public health; skills in public and international health; evidence of administration and leadership skills and at the personal level, he must not be ethnocentric towards the medical profession, but able to lead the health team dispassionately.”

While reiterating the need for a Surgeon General in the country, the MDCAN President said: “The position of the MDCAN is that appointments to leadership positions in the health team should not be politicised to please any group, but must be competency based to achieve clearly stated objectives.

“Had the Minister of Health been incompetent to understand basic public health processess, the situation would have been different. The country was saved enormous resources that would have been wasted on committees, monitoring groups, and other irrelevant agencies that were not needed to control the Ebola disease epidemic.”

While commenting on the fight against Ebola in the country, he advised the government to do everything within its reach to ensure that another case does not surface in the country.

His words: “You have to appreciate that the first eradication of Ebola was not an accident of history. The protocols and guidelines used, are not only applauded, but are being copied by the USA, Europeans, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“They are currently the benchmarks for control of Ebola virus disease. What we should focus on is prevent new cases coming into Nigeria. The probability of de novo cases within the country is low.”

Dr. Oluwole linked the lack of rapid development of Nigeria’s health sector to the unhealthy rivalry among practitioners in the health sector.

According to him, “The unhealthy rivalry and quest for ascendancy by multitude of professional groups in the health team have eroded and fractionated a system that should work in harmony. The primary functions of the health team is now secondary to who controls or heads departments, who takes custody of equipment and other needless ventures.”

•Photo shows MDCAN President, Dr. Steven Oluwole.

Source: News Express

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