The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Wednesday stated that the Federal Government has started taking steps to stop doctors in public service from engaging in private practice.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, he stated that a technical committee had been set up to look at the Yayale Ahmed report on the health sector.
The report was the outcome of a panel set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan to look into “unhealthy rivalries” among healthcare professionals.
While submitting the report, Ahmed, a former head of the service of the federation, had said the panel identified 50 areas of conflict after receiving memoranda and interacting with about 40 professional bodies in the public health sector.
He stated that the areas of conflict were broadly categorised into organisational management, leadership and teamwork, remuneration and motivation, career management, capacity building, professional practice, labour, legal and governance issues.
The government has been having a running battle with health workers, the last being the strike action by the National Association Resident Doctors, NARD, and the Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU.
He said, “For us in the health sector, the most important is the need to do comprehensive job evaluation, so government has decided to set up a committee that would evaluate what exactly we do as individuals, how much should we be paid in a way that we can really pay appropriately across board through the entire country.
“Council also looked at the issue of residency training programme and decided that the training should last for a fixed time of seven years after which individuals should exit from the programme so that other people can come into the programme.
“Council has also decided to look into the issue of private practice by medical doctors in the public sector and a committee has been set up to look extensively into that issue because we want to resolve the issue of what the law of the land states and what the rule of professional ethics say.
“The law of the land does not allow any public officer to do anything other than farming, so that committee would make appropriate recommendation to government on this important issues which is of considerable interest to quite a number of Nigerians.
“In addition to that, we will also look at the Yayale Ahmed report which tried to look into the relationship between professional groups in the health sector; and the office of the SGF has been mandated to forward a white paper on the Yayale Ahmed report to the FEC so that once and for all government can restore harmony to the health sector,” he said.
The minister also called on Nigerians not to panic over the monkeypox outbreak, advising them to maintain a high level of hygiene and report all suspected cases to health affiliates.
He also disclosed that the emergency operations centres had been activated to coordinate response to suspected monkeypox cases.