Nigerian health workers pass vote of no confidence on Minister

Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole

The professional rivalry in the Nigerian health sector is threatening to boil over as other unions in the sector have accused the ministry of showing blatant favouritism to medical doctors, and have passed a vote of no confidence on the minister, Isaac Adewole.

In a press statement on Monday, the Joint Health Sector Union and Assembly of Health Care Professionals, JOHESU/AHPA, demanded a restructuring of the ministry to accommodate allied health professionals in the political leadership of the sector.

The association comprises all health workers in the hospital aside medical doctors. They include pharmacists, laboratory technologists and nurses.

They accused Mr. Adewole, who is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who is also a medical doctor, of unwillingness to address the grievances of other professionals in the Nigerian health system.

The unions asked the federal government to restructure appointments at the ministry to balance the interests of allied professionals.

According to JOHESU/AHPA, the plight of their members had been further worsened by the appointment of Amina Shamaki, who is also a medical doctor, as the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health.

They said this means that the Minister, the Minister of State, Osagie Ehanire; and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, as well as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Ngige who is meant to be a mediator on workers plights; are all medical doctors and have been biased to members of their profession.

Olusegun Sotiloye, Chairman, University College Hospital, UCH, JOHESU chapter, who is also the Deputy President South, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, told PREMIUM TIMES that the union was forced to pass a vote of no confidence on the leadership of Mr. Adewole because he had shown himself to be the minister of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, and not that of the entire health sector.

“As far as he (the minister) is concerned, it is only the medical practitioners that are in the Ministry of Health, so that is why we are passing a vote of no confidence on him,” he said.

“The last time we had a good Minister of Health was in the time of Eyitayo Lambo. Since Lambo, all the other ones are jokers. What is happening now in the health sector was what happened during the tenures of Chukwu Onyebuchi and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti.”

Mr. Lambo, who was Minister of Health under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is a professor of Economics.

Decrying the alleged discrimination by the ministers, he said Mr. Adewole has refused to implement subsisting court judgements because they did not favour the interest of medical doctors.

“We want Adewole to see Ministry of Health as a ministry that has so many professionals practicing and he should make it a level playing ground for all practitioners, treat every professional as a partner in the health care delivery system in the country.

“Eyitayo called a Health Summit and everybody came to the roundtable. He heard everybody and proffered solution and was implementing it, that is why there was no strike in the health sector during his tenure. Apart from having listening ears, he was fair to everybody. But subsequent ones have been doing the opposite”, Mr. Sotiloye alleged.

“That is why we are advocating that if one of the minister is from NMA, the other should be from the allied health professionals so there will be balance. That is why we are saying the Ministry of Health should be overhauled, it needs restructuring the way we are clamouring for restructuring in the country.”

There is a long-standing bitter rivalry among doctors and other health workers in the Nigerian secondary and tertiary hospitals, which has often degenerated to verbal and physical assaults.


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  • ozolity

    I think economist are supposed to head every ministries, cause they have proved to be good managers. A minister is to manage.. my view though

    • thusspokez

      Economics and management are two different things.

      • ozolity

        what made them different? management is a sub set of Economics. U dont seem to know what Economics is all about.

        • thusspokez

          If you have ever studied either or both at school (even at secondary school level), you would know, otherwise look it up on the Internet.

          • ozolity

            Bro. u are chatting with an economists of high repute. U can do me a favour to define Economics. For your information, Economics deals with resources management, resources can be material, human or otherwise. Economics is broad field that covers other fields like banking, finance, management, etc U can just google meaning of Economics to get more insights.

          • thusspokez

            Bro. u are chatting with an economists of high repute.

            Yet you don’t know the difference between the two areas?

            U can do me a favour to define Economics.

            Puerile, if you want to know what I think about such response.

            If economics is management, then why do most universities who have economics department also have administration/management department?

          • ozolity

            The most basic definition of Economics is resource allocation. please what is resource allocation if not management? The creation of management and finance departments in the universities is due to the too broad nature of Economics as a field, so in a bid to be specific, those other departments like banking, management, finance, etc were created. Economics is the mother of the management fields, the field of Economics is over broad not just analytic as you opined. These days we talk about health economists who are there to manage health facilities and policies to the benefit of the people; you talk about environmental economists, who are there to management the environmental policies to benefit humanity; you have climate change economists, at firm level, you have production economists; you have management economists, you have public sector economists, you have international economists, you have development economists, etc. all these area have one thing in common: resource allocation (management)

          • thusspokez

            Here are some Oxford University combined economics degrees:

            1. Economics and Management
            2. Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
            3. History and Economics

            You seem to be bogged down in your school-boy definition of economics. I can’t argue with you at school-boy level. Good day to you!

          • ozolity

            And you have refused to give me your own big boy definition of Economics, and Stop given me subject combinations in the field of Economics. Any school can combine anything in a bid to market their product. Get me any definition of Economics you know to prove me otherwise. I dont think you ever did any subject in Economics, if you have ever did, you wont be arguing blindly this way. Have a nice day too.

  • Intrepid

    Mediocre cabinet. The worst ever in the history of Nigeria. Just like their incompetent principal.

  • thusspokez

    At last some group are agreeing with me that Isaac Adewole is grossly incompetent and indeed the worst minister of health that Nigeria has had. Outbreaks of diseases everywhere. And as usual, he explains the causes — as if people do not already know — but offers no solution. He should have been fired long time ago.

    Nigerians are however, fortunate that this mediocre wasn’t the minister of health during the Ebola outbreaks, otherwise
    thousands of Nigerians would have died under his watch

  • Kath

    Of course that is the mentality that is even being adopted in federal hospitals. Imagine Prof Etete Peters approving a land for the construction of Resident (student) doctors secretariat just as he finished his tenure at UUTH last November when legitimate unions were denied same.

  • disqus_jLJUa0YmE9

    Looking for money to chop