Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Inter-professional rivalry: Implications for health sector

To achieve effective service delivery in the health sector, it is important to note that, team effort is key, as any acrimony and unhealthy rivalry will slow down service delivery in the sector.

For so long, Inter-professional disharmony has existed in Nigeria's health sector where the various professionals feels not well appreciated or relegated.

To end the disharmony, both the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA and Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN begun a dialogue to address the challenges.

This move, however, was to create the needed harmony among health professionals with a view to improve the quality of service delivery as well as see to the well-being of patients, as team-based approach to adequate care is the norm in 21st century.

Effective collaboration between doctors and pharmacists will ensure patient safety in terms of medication, treatment outcomes and of course job satisfaction.

The discussions so far headed by the inter-professional committee of the NMA and PSN has brought to light an implementation strategic plan going forward.

With the strategic plan, both doctors and pharmacists have instituted a continuous collaboration for better patient care and improve healthcare system.

Presenting the plan to journalists in Lagos recently, the NMA President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, said "this move according to both bodies is geared towards finding a lasting solution to the disharmony between doctors and pharmacists in Nigeria, as it will help improve Nigeria's health indices."

Faduyile, who will soon bow out as NMA president, said upon his resumption into office he inherited 12 court cases in Lagos State.

Faduyile said, "while I was the chairman, we brought all the factions of health under one roof because we believe, we are here in the world to improve the health of patients.

"For me, I believe, if we talk more with ourselves, the better understanding of each other we have and also stick to international best practices for the better of all."

He said, "we don't need to reinvent the will in Nigeria and that is why we stick to international best practices that can move the health sector forward. But most importantly, my message to every health sector is for us to think of the patients first, because any of us at any given time can be a patient."

The NMA president added that, "if health professionals have that at the back of their minds, I am sure we will all see the improvements in the health sector.

"During the strategic plan by the committees in charge, one of the questions rolled out during the response in the questionnaire that was distributed, states that, "pharmacists believe that doctors are working against them while doctors believe that pharmacist hate them".

This is shocking, Faduyile said, because we don't talk with ourselves, "I believe, the more we know ourselves, the better the decision we make to wade off disharmony amongst health professionals."

Speaking on the coronavirus pandemic, (Covid-19) Faduyile resolved that, it is time for Nigeria to take a decisive action, stating that, "I can tell you, if coronavirus gets loose in this country, Nigeria will suffer for it. My own view and that of the NMA is that, we think it is high time the Nigerian government took that decision of closing the border to those countries that have serious high level of Coronavirus."

Also speaking, the President of PSN, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, attributed the implementation strategic document as a good one for the Nigerian health care system, stressing that, "medical doctors and pharmacists that represents the health care team have decided to the rivalry in order to create a working relationship that is targeted at improving the health sector as a whole."

Ohuabunwa pointed that this partnership would be a major output and development in good health care outcomes for Nigerians.

The PSN boss said, both the NMA and PSN believe that, "if the members of the healthcare team put away anything that would cause disharmony or suspicion, they should work together and then the output will be better, the health care system will be better and Nigeria will be better."

On coronavirus, the PSN president said, government need to intensify the measures already taken because from the report, it means that, "this recent Nigeria's 3rd patient flew into the country and it was recommended that she should do a self-quarantine and she then reported when she saw the symptoms.

"For me, I believe that, it has worked well but I think, we need to look at the point where people come from this country especially where the virus is, because many might not want to do voluntary quarantine or self-quarantine. This should be made compulsory.

"Supposed the people that are meant to quarantine refuse to, then what will happen. They will go about and spread the virus in the community and that can be dangerous. So the time has come where we should demand compulsory quarantine."

Currently, Nigeria has 12 confirmed positive cases of Coronavirus, 15 persons are on isolation and 1,300 contacts tracing on going.



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