Threaten showdown over MDCN Bill
By Chioma Obinna
The age-long disharmony between the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU; the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations, AHPA, and the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, is far from over as health workers have threatened to the down tool should the National Assembly fails to review the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria Repeal and Re-Enactment Bill, 2020.
The health workers under the umbrella of JOHESU/AHPA also want the immediate step down of a bill sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe.
It could be recalled that the NMA in a recent statement entitled:”JOHESU’s outbursts: time to caution” alleged that the health workers under the auspices of JOHESU/AHPA were working through the backdoor to get what they could not achieve in school.”
However, in response to the NMA, the Unions also accused the NMA of extending its regulation to health workers through the Bill which is currently at the National Assembly.
In a press statement made available to Vanguard and signed by the Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Joy Bio Josiah, the Union said Oloriegbe who is also a medical doctor of injustice, unfair treatment, lack of fair hearing, and bias against their members during the public hearing of five Health Bills on Feb 1, 2021.
Also accusing the NMA of “grab-grab syndrome and know it all attitude”, the Unions maintained that the attitude of the doctors had wrecked the country’s health system to become the hallmark of ‘negative health indices as well as a wretched 187 out of 191 Health Systems globally.”
“We, therefore, have a responsibility as loyal and dynamic citizens to reverse through constructive action especially by embracing global best practices in the Health options in the ultimate public interest. JOHESU will continue to uphold this without caring about whose ox is gored.
Further, the Unions demanded stoppage of Section 4(a) of the controversial bill which states that “the MDCN shall make regulations for the operation and management of Clinical Diagnostic Centre.
According to the Unions, in one template NMA says the MDCN Bill is to regulate and control only medical practitioners and dentists.
“In desperation, the true intendment is to violate the domain of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Radiography. This clearly manifests in Section 4(a) which states: “the MDCN shall make regulations for the operation and management of Clinical Diagnostic Centre.
“If anybody doubted the insincerity of the NMA about its intention to extend regulation and control beyond the frontiers of medical doctors and dentists, then the proviso in Section 45(3)(d) and 45(3)(e) is the perfect symbol of how Medical Doctors look for trouble by standing on age-long hypocritical platitudes.
They queried the jurisdiction of the MDCN to create rules for pharmacists even when the MDCN Bill is limited to medical doctors and dentists.
“Why did the MDCN and NMA decide to bother themselves about what should happen in the absence of a pharmacist where they have no jurisdictional competence even in their admission that the scope of their law is for medical doctors and dentists when they have not told us what should happen in the absence of medical doctors and dentists which is the scope within their boundary and limitations?” the Unions asked.
Observing with dismay the events at February 1, 2021, Public Hearing where Oloriegbe insisted references must not be made to court processes or judgments., they demanded that section 4(9) must be expunged from the MDCN bill in its entirety in conformity with Order 41 of the Senate rules.