PSN Faults FG Health Reform Committee
Lagos State Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has faulted the membership of the Federal Government Health Sector Reform Committee, calling for reconstitution of the committee to accommodate all relevant stakeholders in the health sector.
In a press statement signed by the Chairman of the society in Lagos, Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, the PSN demanded the inclusion of more Pharmacists and other professionals including members of the Joint Health sector Union, JOHESU.
The Chairman also stated that the government must assure them that the reform was not the beginning of job losses in the public sector.
Iyiola said of the 25 members of the Health Sector Reform Programme Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. YemiOsinbajo, Vice President, about 18 appear to be physicians while only 1 Pharmacist, a Nurse and a Laboratory Scientist.
Stating that they have critically appraised the membership, he said:”The Federal Government proposed Health Sector Reform Committee may just go the way of previous Health Sector Reform projects because the philosophy and execution plan is one and same.
“Under the Obasanjo administration, late Prof.Olu Akinkugbe, an emeritus Professor of Medicine led a Health Reform team which had a similar composition of physicians dominating overwhelmingly, but the final report was dead on arrival because the positions like what the Osinbajo Committee will most likely bring on the table will be favourable to only physicians and that will make it unacceptable to the health professionals and workers who make up over 90 percent of the membership of the Health Sector.
“Typical of the processes involved in the sharing of benefits packages, privileges and resources in the Health Sector, the Reform Committee with over 75 percent presence of physicians already negates the rights and liberties of the majority of health workers in Nigeria.
“A Committee of this nature has slots for the DG, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council but not for an agency like NAFDAC which regulates all the drugs, medical devices, vaccines, medical equipment, chemicals etc which are the essential tools and commodities which drive any credible Health System. The President of PSN, Pharm. Sam Ohuabunwa is a former Chairman of National Economic Summit Group who should earn membership on personal recognition. His experience will be handy.
“We observe with consternation that at least 4 of the major trade unions including MHWUN, NUAHP, NASU and SSA have no representation on this Committee. MHWUN alone is reputed to have about 60% of the entire health workforce in its fold. Prof. Osinbajo, is a seasoned lawyer who should know much about fairness and justice to all concerned. What is the significance of this reform process if it does not bequeath a legacy of equity to health workers who remain the human resource to reckon with in this reform bid.
“It is unthinkable that a strategic arm of the health industry like JOHESU is ignored in this health reform, this composition defects will boomerang largely without sounding like a prophet of doom.
“We have analysed the need to have the likes of Mr. Alex Okoh, the Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) on this Committee. It is reasonable to suspect that government is already walking the path of privatisation and selling of government property. The Director-General of BPE is the anchor of the sales of public enterprises so these fears when juxtaposed against the propensity of His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to drive privatisation based on his antecedents when he was Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State when Lagos State Government privatised public sector Pharmacies in Lagos State real,” he stated.