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…As Health Minister refuses to meet over DPT residency

Fejiro Oliver

Controversy trailing the recent news on President Goodluck Jonathan has jolted the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapists (NSP) into warning the government not to heat the already burning fire in the health sector.
In a press release made available to us and signed by the National President, Dr. Taiwo Oyewunmi, the society condemned the action of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) who they accuse
of going through the backdoor to get such office created.
“We condemn in totality the move to accede to NMA demands by the Federal Government on the appointment of Surgeon-General and other related matters. We will fight government to a standstill and collaborate with other professional associations in the health sector. The NSP Secretariat will publish a usable information tool kit for NSP members on this matter. The NMA is trying to go through back door and manipulate government to approve what they cannot intelligently negotiate for on a round table”

He likened the current action of the President to the era when he named the University of Lagos (UNILAG) after Moshood Abiola using executive fiat without recourse to the Senate and House of Representatives. They promised a total show down of the health sector like never before should this creation take place. 
“The push has come to shove. Be on look out for a show down. It is unfortunate that the Presidency made such pronouncement without adequate consultations. This issue is similar to how President Goodluck Jonathan renamed University of Lagos without consideration for due process”. The statement read.
Speaking with Dr Taiwo on phone, he expressed his unwillingness to call out members to go on strike as the patients are always the ones who suffer. “Fejiro, I hate to go on strike. It is not good as the patients are always the one who suffer, but it seems that is the only language the government understands. Nobody among us is the leader of the health team and thus the SGF is unnecessary. The patient is the leader and without them; none of us will be in the health sector”, he said.

Meanwhile the residency programme of the Doctors of Physiotherapy which was billed to kick off this year we gathered is deliberately being delayed by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu. A highly placed source told us that he has refused to grant them audience, to enable them submit the model of the residency plan as demanded by the Ministry of Health despite writing over fifteen letters to him.
This we gathered is not unconnected with the crisis in the health sector, which he feels is fueled by JOHESU which physiotherapists belong. The residency programme is done all over the world by Doctors of Physiotherapists, thus making them specialists in a particular field of medical rehabilitation. A look at the board of the graduates reveals that less than a thousand of them are practicing in the country, which makes one DPT to see over one hundred thousand patient.

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