By Chioma Obinna
As the controversy over headship of the Health Ministry continued last week, the Medical Health Workers Professional Association and Trade Union hasÂ urged Acting President Goodluck Jonathan not to yield to the call by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to appoint a medical doctor as Minister of Health.
In a chat withÂ newsmen in Abuja, National Vice President, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Dr. Godswill OkaraÂ warnedÂ that it had capacity to paralyse and shut down health institutions should the Acting PresidentÂ yield to the NMA
â€œOther Nigerians can become a Health Minister because it is a political post and should not be ceded to any particular profession.
â€œA Ministry is not hospital; it is not a clinical centre. It is not a consulting firm and if every other profession begins to do that, this country will not move forward. We will have problem with the Federal government if it continues to yield the pressure of NMA..
It further stated that General Assembly of healthcare providers excluding doctors finds it necessary to take this landmark position on recent pertaining to the appointment of a Health Minister.
â€œAt the height of ministerial nomination and screening the NMA had taken a parochial and insulting position that one of its own must be appointed at the helm of the Federal Ministry of Health because according to it, this was a global standard. The NMA went further to threaten the Acting President that it would ground the health sector if their position is not adhered to.
â€œIn apparent to the NMA threat Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has not appointed a substantive Health Minister. The Acting President also appears both intimidated and hoodwinked by the position of NMA and its agents that it has now shopped for another medical doctor Health Minister from one of the Southern States in what will epitomise another stage of â€œthe beat goes onâ€ in our ailing health sector.
Pointing to theÂ discriminatory salary wagesÂ designed for doctors, the statementÂ noted that in the last two dispensations in which doctors were Health Minister, the most junior doctor earned more than a doctor in other professions who would have put in over 30 years.
â€œInÂ the face ofÂ these realities, we as representatives of healthcare providers and health workers in Nigeria jointly reject its entirely further manoeuvers and attempts to impose another medical doctor on the FMOH.
â€œWe also like to sound it loud and clear to the Acting President, the National Assembly, Federal Ministry of Labour and other apparatus of the Federal government that we shall effectively respond if the Acting President succumbs to NMA pressure to appoint yet another doctor to head the Health Ministry.â€