JOHESU also warned the National Assembly to avoid the reality of chaos in the health system by reckoning with the fact that the planned section 4(9) of the MDCN bill is in direct conflict with the MLSCN Act 2004.
The Unions in a statement issued to BusinessDay reads: “In line with the existing rules of the proceedings of the National Assembly not to consider legislating on matters before the court, we draw the attention of the Senate Committee on Health to the fact that the issue of the Regulatory Agency which has powers to regulate and control Clinical/Medical Laboratory practice in the field of Pathology is an on-going suit at the Court of Appeal which is expected to determine the Regulatory Agency in Healthcare which has a specific approbation in law to regulate and control Clinical/Medical Laboratory practice in Nigeria.”
According to the group, “It is interesting that in the MDCN draft bill, no consideration or thought was put in print for a next line of action in the absence of the Medical Doctor or Dentist.
“Specifically, there was no clause to allow nurses or any other practitioner to step in the shoes of the Doctor/Dentist which would have been within the jurisdiction of the MDCN.
“Rather strangely, the MDCN bill seeks to give Doctors/Dentists a loophole in the private sector especially to continue the many years of reckless use of drugs through untrained hands.”
It also stated that, “This draft cannot legitimize the unlawful act of sales and dispensing of drugs by Doctors under whatever guise. The above scenario is what has entrenched and formalised quackery in the Health system in Nigeria because private hospitals promote quackery through a periodic discharge of untrained elements. Such undesirable characters evolve as auxiliary nurses, dispensing assistants/clerk among others.
“Section 45(3)(e) in its totality will encourage the continued exploitation of the Nigerian people because WHO studies confirm pecuniary indulgences of private hospital facilities in the sales and dispensing of drugs.”
However, JOHESU advised that Doctors and private hospitals that cannot afford to engage Pharmacists should send their prescriptions to Community Pharmacies that are registered by PCN.
On the other hand, it stressed the need to promote strong evolution of the different professions in the Health Sector as this guarantees harmony in foreseeable future.
“Matters pertaining to the National Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response are germane in healthcare policy and planning.
“However, setting up statutory structures to drive this as an autonomous agenda under the FMOH does not look too strategic in view of the many bureaucratic appendages that will be associated with such endeavours.
“The National Assembly must set the right examples in legislating because government cannot be conveying the impression that there is paucity of funds to cater for existing statutory MDAs, but still attempts to create new structures which must be funded.”
JOHESU therefore, canvassed for the full implementation of the National Health Act, describing it as a panacea to unhealthy practices by respective professions and regulatory agencies in health, in the dispensing of professional privileges and rights in Nigeria.