Federal Government has inaugurated five Health Regulatory Boards/Councils under the supervision of Ministry of Health, with a charge to the board and council members to exhibit more professionalism, teamwork and dedication in line with the Act setting up the Boards.
Permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, who inaugurated the boards on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, gave this charge in his remarks during the brief inauguration ceremony in Abuja.
He said due to the challenges in the health sector, it had become incumbent on all the chairmen and members of the boards and other stakeholders to collaborate towards achieving an effective and efficient service delivery in the sector.
The five boards inaugurated included: Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria (MRTBN); Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN); Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria (ODORBN); Health Records Office Registration Board of Nigeria (HRORBN), and Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria (CHPRBN).
Abdullahi noted that over the years the Ministry had made some laudable achievements in oversight functions, adding that there remained a lot to be done to truly position the health sector to the desired status.
He listed factors such as professional and administrative misconducts, funding and legal issues pending in industrial court as the cause of unrest in the health sector. Others included unethical behaviours, indiscipline and lack of institutional capacity and many others, according to him, point out that these sometimes lead to industrial actions. He tasked the boards to address these factors promptly.
“The inauguration of these governing boards today is a further move by the federal government towards strengthening the health sector in line with the focus and direction of this administration, which is transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility. I therefore urge you not to betray the confidence and thrust reposed in you by Mr President,” he said.
He asked the board chairmen to collaborate, promising that the government would continue to create an environment for a better performance as the governing boards exercise oversight functions to ensure a smooth implementation of government policies.
In his remarks, The Head, Department of Hospital Services in the Ministry, Joseph Amedu, said the boards were all regulatory bodies in charge of their various staff in hospitals. “So they will make sure that as provided by the Act, their professional bodies will implement what the Act requires in order to bring about satisfactory quality health care in the health sector. Your appointment by Mr President should be seen as an opportunity towards uplifting the regulations of the health professionals in Nigeria,’’ he said.
He however, raised some issues stressing that “The ministry of health remains extremely concerned at the continued dissatisfaction of the public about the nonchalant attitude of the majority of the health workers in the discharge of their duties. Many studies and reports within the Ministry of health and outside assert that we have excellent policies and guidelines in place but the management and implementation is faulty.”
He charged the boards and stakeholder to exhibit tireless and endless sacrifices and commitments to keep doing the right things to achieve the desired goals. “This may sometimes entail leaving your comfort zones. It is the responsibility as chairmen and members of the governing boards to bring about the desired change within the shortest time. You have been carefully chosen for this assignment and I can assure you the ministry trust you will deliver on your mandate,” he added.
He admonished them to devise innovative ways of ensuring that health care practitioners collaborate with each other in the spirit of professional interdependence and compliance with the laws while maintaining the highest ethical decorum.
Chairman of the board of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Mohammed Yelwa Gwarzo, who spoke on behalf of the others, expressed gratitude to the federal government for the opportunity to serve.
He said, “We are conscious of our responsibilities for the oversight functions and formulation of policies and their implementations in our various councils and boards. As long as we have a strategic teamwork we will defeat medical tourism in this country. We will do our best to implement the policies.”