The Nigerian government on Monday inaugurated the members of the governing boards of five professional health regulatory bodies.
They were inaugurated in Abuja by permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi.
The inaugurated members are to serve as the governing boards of the Health Professional Regulatory Boards/Councils under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health.
The boards were created following President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval.
The five health Professional Regulatory Board Councils are: Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria (CHPRBN), Health Records Officers Registration Board of Nigeria (HRORBN), Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Reg) Board of Nigeria (MRTBN) and Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria (ODORBN).
Their boards have 72 members in all.
Speaking at the inauguration, Mr Abdullahi, who is the acting as the minister of health, said the inauguration of the governing boards was long overdue.
Mr Abdullahi said the inauguration of the board is one of the ways the government aims at strengthening the health sector.
He said the health sector in recent time had witnessed some laudable achievements in its oversight functions, but much still needs to be done.
Mr Abdullahi lamented that some the health sector is still faced with issues such as “inter and intra professional rivalries, headship in the health sector, professional and administrative misconducts, funding of institutions, legal issues pending in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), indiscipline, lack of capacity and many others.”
“It is noteworthy that everyone present here is a key stakeholder in the health sector, and it is incumbent on us to collaborate towards efficient and effective service delivery in the health sector,” he said.
Mr Abdullahi, however, cautioned the chairpersons and board members of the governing boards to operate within their legal jurisdiction.
He advised them to abide by the rules and regulations in the Act setting up the regulatory bodies.
The boards are to exercise oversight functions over the management, to ensure the smooth implementation of government policies, the effective and efficient utilisation/management of resources, the adherence to extant laws and accountability.
In a similar vein, the director, Department of Hospital Services, Ministry of Health, Joseph Amiedu, said the ministry is ”extremely concerned at the continued dissatisfaction expressed by the public about the nonchalant attitude displayed by a majority of health workers, in the discharge of their duties.”
The inaugurated boards/councils are under the purview of the under the tertiary health services.
”Many studies and reports assert that we have excellent policies and guidelines, but the management of the implementation process is faulty.
“It is your responsibilities as chairmen and members of the governing boards to bring about the desired change within the shortest term.”
He said the role they are called upon to play involves setting the standards of discipline and practice, training and acquisition of professional skills, ”which are the core elements required in the health sector.”
He also tasked them to be mindful for efficient management of scarce resources, especially due to the dwindling revenue of the Federal Government.
“It is the expectation of the ministry of health that you will strengthen the resource base of your respective Regulatory Councils/Boards, thereby increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),” he said.
The chairman governing Board, Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, Yelwa Gwarzo, speaking on behalf of the 71 other members said the boards would endeavour to carry out their duties.