James Sowole in Akure

The coalition of health professionals comprising Pharmacists, Medical Laboratory Scientists and Nurses in Ondo State have rejected some aspects of the State Contributory Health Scheme Bill that had passed through the public hearing at the State House of Assembly.

Specifically, the concerned health practitioners rejected the provision of the proposed law, which made the headship of the scheme an exclusive right of medical doctors.

The practitioners expressed their opposition at a news conference addressed by representatives of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) in Akure, Ondo State capital.

Speaking on behalf of the health practitioners, the National Vice Chairman of of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, Mr. Samuel Adekola, described the exclusion of other health practitioners from the headship of the proposed agency as oppressive, highly discriminatory and misleading.

He said membership and chairmanship of the proposed Board of the Health Insurance Scheme should be opened to all health professionals rather than only medical doctors as proposed in the bill.

“We strongly advocate for the deletion of the mis-leading definition of Medical Practitioner as captured in the draft bill. Since, the decree 10 of 1985 which stipulates that only medical practitioners are medically qualified to be heads of medical institutions in Nigeria is well known to be highly discriminatory, sectional, oppressive and limiting the right of individual health professional in attaining administrative positions, and in any case the obstinate decree is currently being challenged in court,” Adekola said.

He added: “We equally recommend that the board as stipulated in the draft bill be changed to Agency and be headed by chairman who must be a person of proven integrity and a professional in any field of Health.”
He also advocated that the composition of the board must reflect representatives of the four major health services professional bodies namely NANMN, AMSLN, NMA and PSN.

Adekola said health professionals’ bodies equally demanded prohibition of capitation as a means of payment in the implementation of the scheme.

Capitation according to Adekola, means a system whereby health providers were paid for drugs for all enrollees and other things in bulk irrespective of how many enrollees assessed healthcare services.

Describing the system as fraudulent, Adekola said other health practitioners should be allowed to practice their trade for the scheme to be beneficial.

“We strongly recommend prohibition of global capitation as a means of payment at any given time under any disguise in the implementation of the scheme. Hence, the operational guidelines must strictly adhere to this prohibition.”

However, Adekola described the scheme as a right step taken by the government to make healthcare accessible to residents of Ondo State.

Adekola who said they had made their position known to the state House of Assembly and the Speaker, Hon. Bamidele Oloyelogun through a paper presentation at a public hearing on the bill, called on the lawmakers to make necessary correction to the bill before passage.