In an effort to improve the quality of healthcare, the Federal Government has taken the initiative to provide hospitals with waivers enabling them to hire additional healthcare professionals. On February 1, 2024, during an official visit to the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Dr. Tunji Alausa, who serves as the Minister of Health for the State, disclosed this valuable information. 2024 will mark the initiation of a scheme wherein waivers for employment will be granted to medical directors, as disclosed by Alausa.
The creation of a committee responsible for managing employment requests in all hospitals is in progress under the authority of the Federal Ministry of Health. Budget considerations are the foundation for determining the necessary workforce in every institution, wherein each institution is responsible for this task and maintaining a system of checks and balances to ensure accuracy. Alausa stated that the commencement of the project was sanctioned by the president in response to a recognized necessity within the ministry.
UCH to prioritize the investment in additional training.
Each institution will independently produce the required workforce, with financial constraints in place to establish a system of control and balance, as per the approved budget. He highlighted the significance of holding hospitals accountable and making their actions transparent. He made a promise that hospitals would face consequences if they fail to maintain the recruitment numbers provided. The requests submitted will be promptly attended to by the committee responsible for waivers, guaranteeing an efficient and effective review procedure.
As stated in his speech, Alausa also made reference to the difficulties encountered by UCH, emphasizing the importance of seeking alternative sources of energy such as solar power to combat the problem of insufficient electricity. Furthermore, he urged UCH to prioritize the investment in additional training for healthcare professionals in order to effectively cater to the changing demands of the healthcare industry. The progress achieved by UCH is worthy of admiration; however, it is imperative to enhance the training of additional staff to adequately cater to the future requirements.
Existence of obstacles such as recurrent power outages.
Also, the advancement of healthcare is a priority for the Federal Government of Nigeria. While rectifying all the issues simultaneously may not be feasible, the positive aspect lies in the fact that they possess a clear path moving forward, he commented. Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Officer overseeing operations at UCH, emphasized the hospital’s notable accomplishments which encompass exceptional surgical treatments. However, in spite of these triumphs, he acknowledged the existence of obstacles such as recurrent power outages, exorbitant expenses for diesel fuel, and a deficient water supply.
Nonetheless, the hospital’s unwavering dedication persists in striving towards elevated benchmarks in the provision of healthcare services. In the year 2022, the former chief medical director of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital engaged the services of a total of 2,423 individuals as part of the hospital staff. This number significantly exceeded the authorized staff waivers that were initially granted, which had a limit set at 450 members. As a result, the hospital’s financial constraints resulted in a prolonged period wherein employees went without remuneration.
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This lack of remuneration spanned several months, due to the inability to cover the additional 1,973 personnel. According to a report, the Federal Ministry of Health recently conducted an inquiry, which led to the termination of employees who were not assigned any tasks specified in the waiver approved for the year 2022. The eradication of job racketeering within the hospital system would be achieved through the implementation of a waiver committee, sanctioned by the Federal Government, which would be responsible for overseeing the recruitment procedures carried out by all healthcare institutions.