An absurd paradox —Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi, National, PRO, ALMSN
In his own views, the National PRO of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi, described the Minister’s statement as absurd and a paradox.
Ifeanyi said: “The statement by the Minister is a paradox when compared to the statement of Dr Chris Ngige the erstwhile and current Minister of Labour and Productivity, who alleged in April 2019 that we have more than enough doctors and are producing them in excess and therefore we are exporting them abroad and that any Nigerian doctor that wants to go abroad is at liberty to do so.
“He said that in April, and in October of the same year, the man that is in the saddle of managing the health system comes to say that they are to commence the importation of doctors from Europe and America. It is a paradox and incomprehensible especially coming from very learned persons particularly by their professional backgrounds as medical doctors and physicians.
“I just hope that Dr. Ehanire did not say this because he is someone we treat with a lot of respect and reverence as a level headed health systems manager based on the maturity he has brought to bear as a minister of the Federal Republic particularly in the Federal Ministry of Health.”
Ifeanyi said if indeed the Minister made the statement, it would give cause for serious worry as per his plans to reposition the Nigerian health sector.
“Why is it worrisome, this is a country known as Nigeria, 77-60 percent of black doctors in the US are Nigerians. More than 40,000 doctors today are practicing in the UK which is the hub of Europe and so where is he going to import these people from?
“Where are they going to work? Most doctors that have managed to stay, out of patriotism in Nigeria, cannot even find very convenient consulting rooms to render service. Most do not have a supportive infrastructure, is it in this place that we see doctors performing surgery in the theatre using the torchlight provided by their phones? That is where he wants to import doctors that are practicing with cutting edge technology to come and work.
“Importing them into Nigeria is that what will revitalise, revamp and sort out the crisis-bedeviled Nigerian health system? Importing doctors will not solve anything. The health system is comatose, and the structures are an indication of the poor leadership and governance system in the sector. Nothing more, nothing less.
“It is unfortunate, but for me, the Minister needs to sit up. He is not a greenhorn in that Ministry and must begin to consider issues about restructuring the Federal Ministry of Health. Until that is done, even if you empty the entire doctors I=in Europe into Nigeria, it would still be a failed system.
“We have had experiences with this in the past. Some time ago some States in the north imported doctors from Cuba and it left sand in their mouths. Today where are those Cuban doctors? So many times, we had many Indian doctors, where are they today?”
Ifeanyi said Nigeria must find solutions to the country’s own particular challenges in the health system administration.
“Our continuous ranking of 188 countries out of 192 countries in the world is because we have the wrong people by reason of training and skill managing the health sector. Persons trained as clinical experts, we have handed the administration of our health system to them and they do not have training in that respect, so that is the major problem in the health system
“Let Ehanire, for now, concern himself with on how to restructure the federal Ministry of health and the entire health system. They should go and study the things that Prof Eyitayo Lambo did in his days as the Minster and he should do a comparative evaluation of Lambo’s performance and that of all the other ministers ever since up to his own time. That will properly guide him,” Ifeanyi avowed.