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General News of Thursday, 28 July 2022


Minister opposes Teaching Hospitals Amendment bill

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has expressed reservations about the University Teaching Hospitals (UTHs) Amendment Bill, which is aimed at restructuring the composition of the Governing Board of the institutions.

Mr Ehanire said this at the public hearing of a bill for the amendment of the UTHs Act by the House Committee on Health Institutions in Abuja on Wednesday.

The minister said that the passage of the bill into law would lead to a huge disruption in the health sector.

He added that it would worsen the brain drain syndrome being experienced in the country and lower the standard of healthcare services in Nigeria.

“Rather than this bill, expertise should be placed on addressing the brain drain and improving hospital infrastructure," Mr Ehanire said.

The minister, represented by Adebimpe Adebiyi, the Director of Hospital Services, said the UTH was a well-organised system under the Ministry of Health with a mandate on manpower training.

He said that the UTHs were designed primarily to train medical students, adding that the Chief Medical Director of the hospital was not only an administrator but they also have the responsibility to ensure that standards were maintained.

Meanwhile, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Uche Ojinmah, said that the Association rejected the bill in its entirety.

Mr Ojinmah said that the bill sought to defeat the purpose of the enactment of the law it was seeking to amend.

“It is important for us to know that, unlike other government hospitals, UTHs, starting with UCH, Ibadan, were established primarily for the purpose of training the medical students.

“Prior to the enactment of the principal act, UCHs were run by directors of administration.

“This caused a lot of crisis as the Directors of Administrations were more focused on the financial bottom line to the detriment of training and research," Mr Ojinmah said.

He said that the principal act made the position of the Chief Medical Director, a full-time position to be occupied by a person who possessed professional qualifications.

This, he said, must be similar to those of the Dean or Provost of the associate medical schools and with cognate administrative experience in matters of health.

According to him, the principal act vested the control of teaching hospitals in the person whose primary field of competence as a fully registered medical practitioner and dental surgeon imbued him with knowledge.

This, according to him, included legal standing to take charge of the management of patients and training of medical students who owned the teaching hospital.

He said that the requirement of the principal act that a CMD must be a person who was a fully registered medical practitioner or dental surgeon was not a mistake.

Mr Ojinmah explained that it was not the headship of the teaching hospitals that was the problem, but the state of the nation.

Speaking earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said that stakeholders’ views either for or against the subject would be addressed.

He said that it would add to the quality of legislations of the 9th Assembly which it would bequeath to the citizenry at the end of its tenure.

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