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‘We need a Minister of Health, not Minister of Medical Doctors’

On the health portfolio, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said: First, the President should choose somebody who has familiarity with healthcare because it is always better for somebody who has familiarity with the subject matter he or she is superintending. Again, the minister should be somebody who has an understanding of how a large sector as healthcare can be managed and directed, somebody who has a wide spectrum of experience in managing people and resources.

Sam-Ohuabunwa

The President should also look at the person who is conversant with the global situation, somebody who is current and should know what is going on in healthcare issues across the world. What are the issues in America, Nambia, Rwanda and what are those things that gave them a better quality of life, better health statistics and do not appear at the bottom of every health index as it is in our own case? Then, he should also look at somebody who knows how to motivate professional harmony, who can be able to get different professionals to work together as a team. We need a team builder, not somebody who creates division.

On his part, the President, Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile, said: We have three medical personnel that made the ministerial list and I can tell you that the three of them are capable to lead the health ministry. I am hoping that the President will appoint someone from the sector to lead the health ministry because of the knowledge the curriculum has over others within the sector. The three ministerial nominees have their areas of competence and they can be effective on their job. For instance, Senator Mamora has not only been a consummate medical practitioner from the private aspect but also an astute administrator, a three-time House of Assemblymember. We believe that his wealth of experience will benefit the health ministry. We need people who have knowledge about how to attract things to the health sector. Dr Ehanire was Minister of State for Health who has, by that position, been on ground and has learned so many things about the sector while Dr Chris Ngige, who is also an administrator, was in the ministry of health. He was a high-ranking practitioner. We have confidence in the three medical personnel the President has judiciously chosen to work with him as a minister.

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Gbenga Olubowale, a former Chairman, PSN Lagos, said: Our message to Mr President is that he should appoint a Minister of Health and not a Minister of Medical Doctors because that is why we have not made progress till date.   We need someone who is nationalistic and is seen as a total healthcare person. It doesn’t matter who is there as long as it is in the interest of all. Healthcare is teamwork. Lack of teamwork has brought disharmony and we want to move forward. Our health indices are abysmally poor; we need someone with the knowledge that can be deployed to the benefit of all Nigerians, and not just to the select few. The new Minister should improve the nation’s health indicators through better collaboration among the healthcare team, and that will guarantee better outcomes.

Secretary, Lagos ACPN, Okotie, said: We need competence, a round peg in a round hole, a well-rounded and seasoned administrator and not necessarily a practitioner. We need a person with good human and interpersonal relationship skills with an open mind, pragmatic and sound communication skills, a visionary and enlightened person able to adapt to the needs of the office with a commitment to achieving and developing a total quality healthcare system in our country. We need someone who understands the enabling environment for professionalism, teamwork, value and reward for excellence, discipline in the sector and quashing of quackery amongst others. He should review the curriculum in health schools to meet up with global best practices especially with regards to ICT and AI technology.

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