Health Workers Criticise NMA’s Rejection of Pharmacists as Consultants in Public Service

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The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have criticised the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) ‘ceaseless denigration of other healthcare professionals’ in the country following the medical doctors’ rejection of the approved Scheme of Service for Pharmacist Consultant cadre in the federal public service.

The NMA had through its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Aniekeme Uwah, referred the approved Scheme of Service for Pharmacist Consultant cadre in the federal public service as an unwarranted assault on the integrity of the medical profession.

The union, comprising six registered trade unions, while reacting to NMA’s position, condemned what they termed an age-long disdain for other professionals by medical doctors.

The trade union bodies, in a document signed by their representatives, described NMA’s position on the matter as “incomprehensible, illogical and ridiculous”.

The trade union said: “It remains incomprehensible how approval of a consultant cadre in pharmacy practice would amount to an assault on the integrity of medical practice in Nigeria.”

They posited that the attitude of NMA erodes the concept of collaborative qualities in health team in modern day health management.

According to them, “The nature of healthcare is changing everyday with new emerging clinical disease state and quest for treatment and management of the same. These challenges come with more complications in patient therapy, especially when care providers have to deal with multiple disease states in one patient. To optimise therapeutic outcome in patient-care in today’s world, a pharmacist needs the right knowledge to help support our patients.

“Physicians also need in-patient clinical support of pharmacists to excel and to compel a boost in competencies of care-givers across the country”

They further pointed out that “healthcare is not an indigenous practice novel to Nigeria and its many under-achieving propensities. Healthcare cannot be driven by the egocentric proclivities of Nigerian doctors, but by global best practices.

“Nigerian Doctors talk about best practices when it suits them, but suffer selective amnesia when it comes to leveraging on appropriate benefit packages for all members of the health team. For the records, Nigerian pharmacists have been graduating Consultant Pharmacists (WAPCP) since 1997 which transcends to 23 years without recognition of their hard earned skills.”

The unions also accused medical doctors in government of frustrating the circularisation of the National Council on Establishment (NCE) approval.