By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has cautioned boards of health institutions in the country against undue interference with the day to day running of the government agencies under them, saying their appointments were on part time basis.
Adewole gave the warning at the inauguration of the governing boards of Paratstals, agencies and institutions under the ministry in Abuja on Tuesday.
He urged the governing boards’ chairmen and members to address the incessant strike actions and inter-rivalry in the sector, saying their main responsibility was to bring about this desired change in the short term.
He said: “Except where expressly stated by statute, Board appointments are part time. Management of your Agencies and hospitals should therefore be allowed to perform the day to day running of these organizations without hindrance. Your allowances and entitlements as board members are guided by extant circulars that will be distributed to you in due course. Please acquaint yourselves with the circulars for proper guidance.
“The principles of change, good governance and accountability in the affairs of health institutions must be adhered to. These essentially require adherence to extant laws, Circulars, and regulations. For emphases, I commend this to you as a useful tool towards achieving the change we all yearn for in the health sector.
“It is the expectation of this administration that each Governing Board will put measures in place that will strengthen the resource base of your Agencies and Institutions, increase internally generated revenue and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the use of these resources in line with Financial Regulations. Procurement and Contracts are not your functions, as you are advised to keep strictly to the provisions of the procurement Act 2007, as provided by the Bureau of Public procurement.”
He also reminded members of the various boards that, as a creation of statutes, their responsibilities are to give policy direction to the management of Institutions.
“I therefore wish to emphasize that Government expects no less from these boards that are to be inaugurated today. Your Agencies are critical to the achievement of developmental goals of government, being implementing entities of the health sector. You are all enjoined to commit to achieving this mandate and to live above board.
“The roles you are being called upon to play revolve around setting the standards for control and discipline which are the core elements required for any positive change to take place. Your appointments should be seen as an opportunity to make useful and selfless contributions toward uplifting healthcare service delivery in Nigeria.
“For health institutions to have the desired impact on the lives of our citizens, they must be of the right quality, skill mix and right attitude to service delivery,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, urged the board members to use their long experience and competence to make decisions that will affect Nigerians.
He noted that Nigerian health sector suffers serious problems which include lack of confidence in the sector, poor attitude to work, financial leakages and poor healthcare delivery which scare people away.
He therefore enjoined them to work in harmony and team spirit in the discharge of their duties and live above board in order to address these problems.
Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated Board members, Mrs. Rhoda Afolabi of the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, said their call to service will be to reverse the negative trend of medical tourism and ensure that accountability and transparency is entrenched in their various institutions.
She further said they would focus on changing the orientation of Nigerians towards patronizing state-owned health facilities in order to restore the confidence of citizens in these institutions.
Mrs. Afolabi said that addressing the issue of obsolete equipment in federal health institutions and exposing health workers to the last trends in medical technology will help bring down the problem of medical tourism which cost the country up to $2bn annually.
On the issue of incessant strike actions by health workers, Mrs Afolabi said they would adopt dialogue as a potent means of settling industrial disharmony within their various institutions and also strive to ensure that promises made to workers are fulfilled.