The outgoing Chief Medical Director of University Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof Michael Ibadin, has urged the presidency on the need to find a lasting solution to the crisis lingering in Joint Health Sector Union.
The medical expert, while speaking at his valedictory lecture held at the Main Auditorium, University of Benin after eight years at the saddle, advised the presidency to deploy a diplomatic move to resolve the lingering crisis in the union.
“The Presidency can deploy diplomatic channels to resolve the lingering crisis. This she can do by recruiting the support of the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress in getting the affected JOHESU leadership to see the economic implications of skipping on the national economy and the need to be patriotic”.
He added that the leaders of the union should be persuaded by the Presidency on the need to be patriotic.
“The President could initiate the move and make the affected leaders to place national economic interest above sectional and pecuniary interests. Once a consensus position is reached out of court settlement can then be initiated at the instance of either party or on the advice of the Attorney-General of the Federation. An effective date for implementation can then be set and to appease the workers and everyone should be made to refund monies earned illegitimately”.
Speaking on the management of the medical centre where he retired, he averred that the hospitals require Boards to function effectively.
“I am aware of complaints from colleagues of some negative tendencies of Boards of Management. The benefits of having a board far outweigh these tendencies when it comes to the effective running of hospitals. In this era of continuous conflicts between Management and employees, you need a third party as an arbiter to maintain some sanity in hospitals. I was privileged to have worked with two different boards and they made their marks in the
He added that the existence of the board should be statutory and tenured and not left to the whims and caprices of politics. Irrespective of political affiliation, members of Board should be allowed to serve out their terms as currently obtainable in Universities, adding that it would guarantee continuity in style of leadership and stability in the system. While calling for decentralisation and devolution of Power in the hospitals, he said the structure of governance of the Hospital as it is today is over centralised.
“Every mail and every request must first be seen by the CMD. On the average, the CMD attends to over two hundred mails per day. He spends all his time attending to one emergency request or another”.
On the need to increased private sector participation in medical activities, Prof Ibadin maintained that the public health sector has sunken too deep to be salvaged.
“It is a system whose circle has to close and from the rubbles new life, that is, a new system has to blossom forth. No form of palliation would do now. I am amazed when persons comment unfairly on the performances of government hospitals in Nigeria when they are well aware that hardly do government businesses succeed. Where are the government hotels, airlines, shipping lines and factories? The same reasons why they went down and are going down are also operational in the health sector. That the hospitals are there and serving is sheer miracle”.
He added that “The average government employee is employed to earn some wages and not to work. This summarizes it all. If we demand efficient and effective healthcare system we must be ready to learn from others who have succeeded. Quite often you have individual comments to the effect that the Indian hospitals receiving pools of patients from Nigeria are better than the hospitals in Nigeria.
“No doubt this is an unfair comparison and criticism. The hospitals in India where Nigerians are treated in large numbers are private hospitals and not public hospitals. If we have to compare institutions across the two countries they have to be of the same status. Government has no business doing business is a popular saying. The way to go henceforth is increased private sector participation in the health industry”.
He also called for restructuring of the governance structure of hospitals across the country. According to him, the structure of governance of federal tertiary health institution should be reviewed to permit broad base participation in decision making by other professional groups. “Just now, most persons in allied health profession feel alienated by the structure in place and their fears are genuine. Bringing others on board will not in any way erodes the importance of any particular profession.
“Others are important stakeholders in the business but in asking to partake in the decision making process they should not seek to supplant others, otherwise the much needed peace in the place would remain elusive.
Prof Ibadin listed recommendation that would put the hospital in firm footing as following: tackling the menace of skipping, aggressive pursuit of the appeals against the extant court judgment, changes in the schemes of service, elimination of the principal position from the schemes of services, evolving entire new schemes of services, creation of tertiary hospital commission, among others.
The Chairman of the occasion, Prof G.I. Akenzua lauded Prof Ibadin’s exemplary leadership for lifting the hospital from a mere consulting clinic to a world class standard.
“I salute the courageous administrative style of Prof Michael Ibadin; the pioneering leadership of the hospital in the area of Stem Cell Transplant in West Africa, the numerous capacity building and training of medical staffers in and outside the Nigeria and the massive infrastructural development signposted him as a man of honour and integrity”, Akenzua said.
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