By Henry Uche 

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association (AHPA) are demanding that all Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) across the country appoint at least 15 pharmacists consultants in each teaching hospital, while the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) and its equivalents must have at least 10 pharmacist consultants. 

In a statement signed by its acting national secretary, Matthew Ajurotu, the group said this was inevitable after it critically appraised deliberate actions against non-physicians in the country. 

“Our demand is in tune with the official circulars for consultants’ cadre in pharmacy practice in the public sector. We demand an immediate and unconditional implementation of the approved Consultation Cadre Circular of pharmacists in all FHIs and payment of specialist allowances to deserving health professionals. 

“One of the areas that has showcased the reign of tyranny of physician – health minister in contemporary times is the disgraceful methodology with which they have suppressed every attempt of non-physician health professionals to diversify and expand their knowledge base by refusing to accord them recognition when they bag Post-graduate Degrees and Fellowship.” 

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The health group maintained that in 2021, Dr. Osagie Ehanire gave directives to the University Teaching Hospital (UCH), Ibadan Board to terminate the consultant status of all non-physician health professionals. 

“However pharmacists went through the entire gamut of due process having secured approvals of the National Council on Establishment as far back as 2011 for their consultant cadre.” 

They added that in 2020 and 2021, official circulars were issued from the Office of the Head of the Civil service of the Federation (OHCSF) who is also a physician and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) through its immediate past permanent secretary who was rated as one of the most seasoned bureaucrats of his generation to further boost the consultant cadre in pharmacy practice. 

“More so, the Niger State Government introduced the consultant cadre in pharmacy practice as far back as 2013.  Other states like Edo, Osun have followed suit, while two pharmacists’ consultants were appointed at the Aso Rock Villa clinic in May, 2023.

“Enahire has confirmed with the precedence of the inglorious era of Prof. Christian Chukwu and Prof. Isaac Adewole to insist that only physicians can be consultants in FHI by issuing a ridiculous circular through the infamous department of hospital services that ties the appointment of pharmacists’ consultants to vacancies which must be created by the FMoH,” they stressed.