Another Ultimatum From Johesu?

Is it not an act of utter folly for JOHESU (Joint Health Sector Unions) to issue another ultimatum threatening federal government to embark on another strike in the health sector? I think a time has come for federal government to tackle the crisis in the health sector frontally ,there is no need for this 'mending wall' approach that federal government has been using to tackle the problem.

Marthin Luther king junior said, 'there is no acceptance of the principles of evading the solutions to a problem by adjustment to circumstances rather the task is to adjust the circumstances to our own requirements.' The government should know that even Joshua in the bible made it clear when he asked the Israelites to choose between the Almighty God and other gods. There is no way federal government can appease both NMA and JOHESU even the law court will not placate the two rivals.

I think federal government should allow them proceed with their proposed strike while all their salaries should be stopped immediately,they can go to court. I wonder how we Africans reason at times,is there anywhere in the world where doctors and non-doctors receive the same amount of salaries?I am asking this question because while reading some of the demands made by MHWUN(Medical and Health Workers Union Of Nigeria) to Yayale Ahmed 's presidential committee on inter-professional relationship in public sector,they demanded that: salary relativity should be equitable ,ensuring that there is a single salary structure in health sector ;entry points for all graduates in the health sector to be level 9. I chose to comment on only these two demands among other annoying demands made by other affiliate unions of JOHESU .

In view of the above ,how can the air hostess believe that she will receive the same amount of salary as the pilot just because both are involved in the flight? At times we Africans behave as fools,how can somebody in his right frame of mind believe that a soldier who passed through NDA(Nigerian Defence Academy) will receive the same amount of salary with a member of Nigerian security and civil defence corps just because both are involved in a peace keeping mission?That was exactly why a group of people sat down and concocted the demands that were imprudent. They want doctors and JOHESU members( who either failed out from medicine and surgery and later later found their ways in one of the paramedical courses or could not pass the JAMB UTME admissions into medicine)to receive the same amount of salary,is that not madness?If I use sarcastic words on them ,many will blame me for not being civil. How can the local government chairmen want to receive the same amount of salaries with governors just because they are all political leaders and you tell me it is not time to refer them to the psychiatrists?

Meanwhile,I spent four years of my productive life in a paramedical course and when I understood the scheme of things in the health profession and the true meaning of 'para' in the term 'paramedical course',I simply changed over to medicine and surgery. What a determination ?As that was not enough,when we changed over to medicine ,we were compelled to step down for one year in line with the then rule in the faculty hence completing my wasted years to five, a girl in our group refused and changed to pharmacy but many of us persevered and today we are medical doctors. Now,tell me why if I were a military administrator today,why I would not include the names of these medical insurgents among the twelve soldiers that were recently sentenced to death by firing squad?The army called it mutiny but I call what these JOHESU members are doing in our health sector mutiny and insurrection and section 33(2) of CFRN does not guarantee right to life for anybody participating in insurrection or mutiny. This is because these paramedical workers are trained to take instructions from the doctors at all times hence if we must work as a team,the doctor must be the team leader and anything apart from that will be regarded as insurrection or mutiny.

Can the reverend sisters receive the same treatments and salaries as reverend fathers even when they are all workers in the lord's vineyard or will the honourable members of the House of Representatives receive the same salaries as distinguished senators even when they are all members of the national assembly?Is it not madness if doctors start clamouring to be called matrons ,chief medical laboratory scientists,chief pharmacists etc? Why will a policeman want to be a chief of army staff and a soldier want to be called an inspector general of police?That is the product of job dissatisfaction. The most annoying aspect of all this rubbish is that most of these medical insurgents could not pass their JAMB UTME into medicine and surgery while some of them who forced themselves into medicine finally failed out in the second MBBS professional examination and now they want to meet up with doctors at all costs .Many of them smartly changed to paramedical courses after failing out of medicine .Some of them have the audacity of answering medical doctors in their localities hence the need for them to be at par with the real medical doctors at all costs.

If federal government will listen to my professional piece of advice,let them allow JOHESU members to proceed with their threatened strike while their salaries will be suspended immediately but they should be warned that they should not lock up any of the offices belonging to the hospitals,they should borrow a leaf from the doctors who withdrew their services and the keys to all the offices handed over to the appropriate authorities. Believe you me,if doctors are paid well with all their arrears/relativity,the hospital will move on in the absence of JOHESU members. The chief medical directors will simply engage the services of private firms to provide services such as cleaning,security,maintenance,clerical work and any other services provided by the JOHESU members.

Meanwhile ,as the government applies the principle of no work no pay,they will be divided among themselves,those that really understand the difference between paramedical and medical courses will be allowed to come back to work after having sworn affidavit stating clearly that they will, humbly and respectfully,carry out the instructions given by the doctors and that they will not embark on any more strike. Also,in the affidavit,they will specify that the positions of chief medical directors and consultants are exclusive preserve of doctors .Those JOHESU members that insist on heading medical consultants(who are fellows of national and/or west African postgraduate medical colleges)with their first degrees and RN certificate(which is equal to or less than OND certificate) will then be allowed to proceed to High court/National Industrial Court,after which an appeal will be made in the appellate court and finally another appeal will culminate in the supreme court. Believe you me before the final judgement will be passed by the supreme court,nature must have removed these bad eggs among them through starvation,insolvency and psychological trauma.

Meanwhile,let us examine the functions of these JOHESU members in our current tertiary hospitals. The pharmacists have turned to sales boys and girls in our pharmacy departments. They will brag with drug formulations which do not take place in our tertiary hospitals. Almost all the drugs used in this country are imported because every pharmacists in the country want to either work in the tertiary hospitals in order to cut their own 'national cake' or work as sale's representatives for drugs imported into the country ,what a waste of human resources. Their work now is to sit down and dispense all the drugs prescribed by the doctors even when many of the pharmacy shops owned by the pharmacists in our communities make use of SSCE holders and auxiliary nurses to sell their drugs to the members of the public. If you doubt me ,carry out your investigations in your own communities. However ,when you come to the government owned hospitals ,the reverse is the case,people that spent five good years in the university will be sitting down doing the work of sales ladies and boys and at the end of the day,they want to be 'crowned or ordained' consultants. My question is,consultant in what? Is it consultant in drug selling or dispensing? What professional input do they make to the management of the patient that ordinary unskilled sale's boys/girls in drug shops cannot make?

Considering the medical laboratory scientists,their functions are fast going into extinction ,many tests are done with strips and many machines are now automated. What are they still doing in our laboratories? We can start internship programmes for microbiologists and biochemists so that they will handle microbiology and chemical tests in our laboratories .If you doubt what I am saying,go to many medical laboratory firms in your localities owned by the medical laboratory scientists and find out the workers that they make use of,it will surprise you that many of their workers are SSCE holders who were given on-the-job training while the lenient ones among them will simply employ the services of laboratory technicians with OND or HND certificates. This is because many of them know that their job does not require any skill hence no need of employing who they will pay huge amount of money.

This is exactly how it is to other paramedical professions among JOHESU members but the problem is that nobody will reveal this secret to our government and those who should reveal these secrets to the government are treading with caution because they don't want to be shown the way out of government ,they understand that the principle in Nigeria is for one to remain politically relevant at all times. When one is occupied with work,one will not think about the issue of leadership but an idle man ,they say, is devil's workshop. This is important because even in our tertiary hospitals there are some doctors working there that can NEVER be consultants and chief medical consultants. These doctors are called medical officers and they are permanent staff of the hospital the same way that every member of JOHESU is a permanent staff of the hospital .These doctors know that no matter their many years in the hospitals,they can never be chief medical directors and can never answer consultants.

Sequel to this,if such a condition exists for some medical doctors with MBBS certificates while will it now change with other non-doctors? Some JOHESU members are shouting that the posts of chief medical directors should be open,who told them it is not open in the first place?It has been open since inception and it cannot get closed this time and to capture the position is simple,pick up a JAMB UTME form,fill medicine and surgery,finish the course with MBBS certificate registrable with Medical and Dental Council Of Nigeria. Thereafter,become a house officer after which you proceed to NYSC if age is still on your side,then come back and write your primaries professional examination in the area of medicine you want to specialize on, then start the residency programme and if you succeed in the two professional examinations in the residency programme then you become a fellow of the postgraduate medical college. The person is now a consultant in a particular area of medicine .As a consultant,the person can vie for the office of the chief medical director of the hospital ,is the process not open to the members of the public who are ready to pass through this path?

If you want to become something in life,you must follow the due process .The current director general of World Health Organisation ,Dr Margaret Chan,wanted to be in her current post and when she realised that the post was and is still an exclusive preserve of medical doctors ,she simply applied to study medicine despite the fact that she had had a degree in Home Economics and for the fact that she was already practising as a Home Economics teacher .In my class we had many people that were studying medicine either as second or third degrees. The most annoying aspect of the whole stuff is that these medical insurgents will quote international best practices which I am sure they don't really understand the meaning.

If a practice by few countries can mean international best practices,why is it that the beheading of non Muslims by ISIS in Syria and Iraq has not been regarded as international best practices? Also why did we not accept legalising same sex marriage in this country despite the international pressures ,why won't we accept same sex marriage as international best practices?If these medical insurgents find out a little thing that few countries are just trying to experiment on,that will form their international best practices even when it is obvious that the countries are 'drowning' with such practices. I am sure that if somebody surfs the internet,there must be some countries where civilians are appointed as chief of army staff or inspector general of police ,will that now serve as our own international best practices or a country like the kingdom of Saudi Arabia where the head of the government is called a king,should we now call Jonathan king in line with international best practices from Saudi Arabia that run monarchial system of government? I remember a day Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was answering some questions in a phone-in programme during his regime,he was telling somebody that very soon Nigeria was going to have trains that would be moving at the speed of 230km/h,the caller shouted in amazement and Obasanjo replied as thus,'things take time,things take time.'

One problem with us is that once we see a new thing,we want to apply it in our country without first considering the conditions that were laid down before the countries reached to that level hence our former CBN governor wanted to start printing five thousand naira notes,possibly because other countries might have five thousand denominations in their currencies, without first considering the inflationary effects of that in our economy but I thank God for the public outcry that stopped the exercise. Once paramedical courses allow themselves to be serving as dumping grounds for those that failed out of medicine or those that could not make medicine through JAMB UTME ,the rift between JOHESU and doctors will never come to an end. They should make their courses professional in that injustice is not only treating equals as non-equals,it also involves treating unequals as equals. If doctors(with MBBS certificates) called medical officers working in the tertiary hospitals can never be called consultants and can never vie for the posts of chief medical directors despite their many years in the hospitals how then will it be possible to allow a group of people who got admission with lower cut off marks in their UTME; ,with lower volume of study curriculum and who studied their courses semester by semester to now come and head units/departments and hospitals where there are distinguished medical consultants?

At times we fool ourselves,we were crying last time due to the poor performance of students in this year's WAEC results,I simply laughed because that was exactly what we wanted in this country .If a medical doctor will not have any conspicuous difference between him and his friend who failed out from medicine ,why should we then force our kids to be serious with their studies. I would rather I advised the young ones to pick simpler courses since the salaries will be the same and for the fact that one can reach where one wants through any course one chooses. A time will come when we will be importing the services of foreign doctors because nobody will ever go and study medicine in this country since the remunerations for both medical and paramedical professionals are the same. This is because nobody likes taking a difficult path(like medicine ) even our lord Jesus never wanted to pass through the sufferings on the cross hence his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane,'father if it is possible ,let this cup pass over me ....' A nurse with RN certificate which is less than or equal to OND or NCE wants to come and head medical consultants who are fellows of different postgraduate medical colleges,is that not madness?is it not time for us to invite the services of the psychiatrists?

I recommend that all paramedical courses be stopped forthwith in our universities while anybody that wants to specialise in any of the paramedical areas must first be a doctor before going for specialisation,that is the only way that all their demands can be met because of the following observations: the doctors called ophthalmologists cannot leave the patients in the care of optometrists because ophthalmologists know that the optometrists have shallow knowledge of full medical practice ;the specialist doctors called pathologists cannot leave the patients in the hands of the medical laboratory scientists because the doctors know that the medical laboratory scientists have shallow knowledge as it involves holistic management of the patients;specialist doctors called radiologists cannot allow radiographers because they know that radiographers have shallow knowledge of medical practice;specialist doctors called obstetricians and gynaecologists will not allow the midwives do deliveries because when the midwives encounter complications ,they would be as confused as the patients' relatives and our tertiary hospitals are basically referral centers where complicated cases ought to be referred to;specialist doctors called orthopaedic surgeons cannot leave the patients to the hands of the bone technicians because the knowledge of the bone technicians are limited,if I continue the list will be indefinite.

If the government is confused on how to tackle this age long crisis in the health sector ,they will contact people like us to advise them appropriately so that this problem will be nipped in the bud.

[email protected]
Port Harcourt,
Rivers state.

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Articles by Paul John