By Vincess Okushi

A committee to look into the issue of accumulated waiver requests for employment of health workers in the various hospitals across the country has been set up by the Federal Government to improve healthcare delivery.

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Tunji Alausa made this known when he paid a familiarization visit to the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Oyo State as part of his ongoing over-sight function visits to assess Federal Government health institutions in the country.

Alausa while highlighting the challenges of shortage of human resources for health, said that President Bola Tinubu, recognized the need to institute waivers for the recruitment of healthcare workers to be more streamlined and simplified, necessitating the approval of the issuance of waiver requests for hospitals domiciled at the Federal Ministry of Health.

This is due to some bottlenecks faced by our Chief Medical and Medical Directors, in the process of getting waiver approvals. We reached out to the Head of Service of the Federation, (HOSF) Dr. Yemi Esan, who has been on top, working judiciously to get these approvals, but we just all decided that it will be easier if the waiver process starts from the Ministry. So going forward from January, we are setting up a waiver committee at the Ministry that will promptly review and address all waiver requests from all our hospitals.

The Minister of State for Health also assured that the process will ensure accountability and transparency, even as he commended UCH for the various feats achieved in healthcare delivery, especially in the area of training, and harped on more to meet future needs.

each hospital would generate a request for the number of staff needed FOR the Ministry, which will then go to the HOSF for some checks and balances under the establishment law, to see what’s budgeted for the year. Once the Ministry confirms that everything is verified, approval for the waiver will be sent to the Budget office where the funds will be made available, there won’t be delays anymore.

Today our lifestyles have changed, the kind of diseases we didn’t have fifty years ago have no CARDIOLOGISTS OR ELECTROPHYSIOLOGISTS ONCOLOGISTS, with different kinds of cardiovascular diseases, we need cardiac strengthening and other forms of cardiac interventions. There is a need to start training more specialists in the area of interventional CARDIOLOGISTS, ELECTROPHYSIOLOGISTS, surgical ONCOLOGISTS, and interventional RADIOLOGISTS to meet the needs of the present-day health sector.

Earlier, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, Chief Medical Director of UCH, highlighted challenges faced and achievements such as specialized surgical procedures in partnership with some UK-based charities and other organizations as well as donations of equipment and infrastructures by well-meaning Nigerians. Adding that, they aim to move UCH to the quaternary level of care like some hospitals in the developed world.

UCH, Ibadan at its inception in 1948 before the Act of British Parliament had two Clinical Departments (Medical and Surgery) but now has 85 departments, 6 Units, and 2 Divisions

A statement by Patricia Deworitshe Director of Information, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare 2nd February 2024 revealed that Dr. Alausa, promised to look into challenges highlighted by the college, especially in the area of power, while urging the hospital to take advantage of alternative power supply sources like solar as the government works earnestly in mobilizing more funding to strengthen and address the issues affecting the hospital and the health sector.

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