Sunday, August 25, 2013


It is a mathematical fact that fifty percent of all physicians graduate in the bottom half of their
class Unknown Just when I was about getting ready for my afternoon games; an sms rushed in, which got me thinking that the medical war will go on nonstop until the citizen and the president do something about it by laying off the minister of Health, Mr. Chukwu Onyebuchi or acceding to JOHESU request. I wasn’t thinking because it was the first sms of the
day over my last write up on the medical strike. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t among the first 100 sms and definitely not among the over 480 mails received at that moment, but because I concluded that I have finally known the reason for the power tussle in the volatile health
sector. The message came thus: “Doctors are the academics in the health sector, while your so called health workers-many of them-semi-educated are the non academic staff. In all jobs, only certain cadre of workers become CEO. For instance, the academics in the university, the engineers in NNPC, Judges in judiciary. That is why doctors are CMD in hospitals. You claimed you are a journalist. Perhaps a secretary is the EDITOR of your newspaper! You are
one of those jealous of doctors. Your article revealed that.” He ended. This is definitely what they are made to believe during their horsemanship and internship. If this is so; the medical sector is dead. With supposed physicians that think like this, the medical profession is in peril. Let’s analyze. All over the world, there are only three group of medical profession(I stand to be corrected) that are ascribed the title ‘doctor’ namely; doctor of medicine, doctor of physiotherapy and doctor of dentistry, but this piece is narrowed down to doctor
of medicine. When I set out to write ‘Nigeria Medical Workers strike; let us all die’, I wasn’t expecting the kind of controversy and buzz as it has generated home and abroad. Certainly I was threading where angels fear to tread as revealed by Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) members who have called and sent mails. Their various comment suggested that I was threading on a dangerous path and should not be the one to open the public eye to the politicking in the health. Sorry my dear family members who are part of NMA; the truth must be told. Our dear friend called other medical graduates “semi-educated’, a pitiable summary of their reason for going on strike, so he sees it. Can a pharmacist who manufactures
the drugs which they in the doctor category prescribe be a semi illiterate, and yet they ask the
public to take the drugs? Can a radiographer who do all the scan work in the hospital be an illiterate and yet they the so called ‘doctors’ begin treatment, while dependant on the scan produced by the radiographer? Is the medical lab scientist an illiterate when he diagnosis the cause of an ailment through his series of test carried out by him that the physicians used in working? Is the nurse truly semi- literate when a patient hope of recovery depends on
him/her? Bring them on; is the optometrist a semi illiterate when patients with various eye problems seek his medical solution? Who then is the semi illiterate; the man who calls himself a doctor but cannot begin treatment until a test is carried out, or the man who diagnoses and refers the patient to any of the three doctors? Is it the man who forgets a
scissors or cotton wool inside a patient body, stitch it up only for the patient to die later? Let the public judge.
I don’t know the school our doctors went to but the schools in Nigeria and abroad that I have been to bears school of health sciences, faculty of health sciences or college of medicine and all the various medical departments are in these departments. It’s befuddling to say that an insignificant department that cannot operate alone be allowed to be a CMD. A professor of medicine who called from the USA to lend his voice aptly noted that hospitals are left in
the hands of health administrator not clinicians. Can someone sing to the heavens to this ‘doctors’ that they have no business heading a hospital and if they should head, that any of the medical profession who is most qualified should head. That a department of radiology, medical laboratory scientist (which the media erroneously refer to as medical laboratory technologist), optometry etc is headed by a doctor is an aberration, a misdemeanor and oddity. What then is the use of studying such course when the practitioner cannot get to the peak of his career? Let all medical departments be headed by a graduate of such; not a fellow who did only few months of residency in it. You don’t force leadership when a people reject it. The various departments have refused to have MBBS graduate as their heads. Must they shed blood or keep this strike going for all our loved ones to die before their call is heeded?
In the college of engineering, there exist various departments, but the civil engineers have never laid claim that they alone be allowed to head the ministry of works, neither has the building engineers say to the structural engineer that it is their prerogative to head ministry of housing. The petrochemical engineer has not told the chemical engineer or petroleum engineer that they alone be allowed to head NNPC. The land surveyor has not told the estate surveyor that they alone be made minister for land survey? Has the quantity surveyor told the land surveyor that they should be allowed to be made Surveyor General of the Federation? NO! They all know that they are all engineers and surveyors, but designated differently for the smooth operation of the job. Where therein lies this show of pomposity by a minute member of the medical profession that they are the owners of medicine. The public may not know it, but now they must! The three profession bearing ‘doctors’ constitute only 30
percent of the entire clinical staff in the hospital with doctor of medicine producing a paltry 12 percent. That a group of 12 percent be allowed to Lord over 70 percent qualified and worthy medical workers is an unforgivable sin and injustice to mankind. The academics which are the brain behind the country do not have only graduates of educational degrees
as Vice Chancellors, but anybody who is a lecturer no matter the field of study can be appointed. The Judiciary which the doctors of medicine want to emulate is the most professional field in the world, where universities operate a department as a faculty. Yet they have never fought each other that an international law and jurisprudence judge should
not be made a minister of justice. They have never asked the President to allow only law school graduates of criminal laws to be made an attorney general, neither have they argued that only civil law graduate be made a chief judge. Anyone of the law profession is allowed to aspire to be a judge without hindrances. What then is wrong with our MBBS doctors?
No medical profession is entirely independent; all of them are allied to one another; support staff to each other. Let me tell you an experience. Five years ago, my cousin who is a doctor of medicine took me to see his friend who is a doctor of physiotherapy and was about to wed in two weeks time. There in the hospital, I heard his patient, an elderly man telling him that if he can make him walk before his wedding day; he, the patient will surprise him. I don’t know
how he did it, but before the end of the two weeks, the man was hale and hearty, walking very well. I bet you can never guess this, but the patient was a consultant cardiologist! Yes, a consultant cardiologist who has given hope on life brought back to ‘life’ by another field of medicine. He did make good his promise as he was a major sponsor of the wedding.
As I write, in Hamada Bello University in a unit (which I won’t disclose) lies a consultant
paediatrician who has been sustained on physiotherapy for the past ten years, after a successful surgery, with many more in the cue daily for treatment and yet his NMA colleagues will want the world to believe that they are indispensable, when actually they contribute the lowest of medical delivery. I know of hundreds NMA members whose
hope of living lies in the nurses, DPT and optometrist; yet they refuse to allow professionalism reign in the health sector.
When doctors of medicine go on strike, they want my likes to pen reports that will cause government to hear and attract public sympathy, yet when other medical unions go on same strike; their national president term it sabotage, urging her members to be on duty. They want the media to be silent about it, forgetting that NMA strike does not affect every patient as there are always skeletal works going on by consultants and house officers. But how wrong he is. In the field of medicine; you are a clinical staff, non clinical staff or administrative staff. If this is so, what manner of argument are they propounding that medicine practice is akin to a house being built, where other staff are labourers’ while they are the engineers. It doesn’t just blend. Fejiro Oliver is always paid by agents, so they shout. When I wrote advocating for fair trial to Ibori, they shouted to high heavens that I was paid millions by
Ibori hatchet men; when I wrote the APC story; APC chieftains screamed that PDP is using me as their new media man. When I wrote against my own constituency, NUJ, for engaging in unprofessionalism; they say Fejiro was being used by disgruntled elements and when I broke the Dafinone’s secret daughter reports, his hangers-on raised the roof that the secret daughter, Elizabeth Dafinone has paid me in pounds since she resides in London. And now that I have written on the JOHESU/NUPTAM strike, NMA members allege that I have been paid and being used by Medical Lab Scientist and Nurses to heat the polity and cause the
sack of Minister Onyebuchi. If truly I’m being paid for all the countless reports and stories I have written for over a decade; I should be flying in my own private jet, chartering private planes whenever I go travelling, not boarding a business class. Reports emanating from various newspaper reports, says that patients are already dying, with many more being evacuated to private hospitals; yet the doctors are there, helpless with no solution to the
cure as they are handicapped. Will a doctor of medicine go to the physio department to treat a case he has never seen all his life apart from reading about them (that is if he has ever heard about it)? I write with the spirit of truth and the various media publishers in Nigeria, London, USA, Ghana, Vienna, Netherlands etc publish in the spirit of truth.
Nigerians have personally asked that I express their gratitude to them for being a vessel of information and making open what the ordinary masses never knew. I do not just write as a journalist, but also an activist, who advocates for the right things to be done and workers given their due benefits. Mr. Minister, Nigerians are the ones dying not your children, they are the ones suffering, not your immediate relatives. These medical workers you know as I know do not truly feel the pains as the electorate, but must they all die before you tender
your resignation honourably? To you Mr. President, we know you don’t give a damn, but don’t you also care that mothers will be made widows, husbands made widowers and parents who probably have their only child in the hospital now will become childless? Dear Jonathan, don’t you care for the loss of loved ones that will occur as you dance etighi with lives of Nigerians who you swore to protect? Is the continuous stay of your Minister of Health more
important than the hundreds of lives of Nigerians that are already dying? The court appeal made by the Minister is uncalled for, wicked and delay tactics, aimed at crucifying the citizenry. By the way, what were you thinking when you appointed the minister of health and minister of health (state) from the same NMA? Were you thinking the medical workers are fools who you can ride on and get away with? No, dear President! These are professionals
who spent years in the university more than you; these are the men when my grandma had back pain that the Onyebuchi group referred us to, these are the men who without them, my late grand dad would have being buried as a blind man. It is these men who I rush to for test and diagnosis when I feel uneasy.
Oh Jona; these are the very people who when our relations have gone to sleep, leaving the
sick in the ward; they in their glowing white uniforms take care of them while the NMA members go to the call room, sit on the sofa, crossing their legs, sipping tea and watching DSTV. They have not asked for much but harmonization in the health sector as is done all over the world.
Nigerians are saying, ‘grant them their prayers that we may not die’. Or have they not elected you and should be able to tell you what to do? If you could sack the defence minister and national security adviser, despite the days of Boko Haram insurgence, who then is the minister of health that you cannot show the way out, due to his nepotism, favouritism,
high handedness and incompetence.
No, I refuse to be part of a cheated generation a decayed history and a partaker of oppression. I refuse to be tagged a failure by my unborn generation, who will question my role in this moment of history, such as this. Tomorrow, it just may be my great grandchild fighting this; it might even be yours. Mr. President, this azonto dance with the medical profession is enough; this etighi dance has gone on too long. There is blood on the dance floor
already and the cries of the innocent patient who may have been saved by your quick action is ascending and your name is being mentioned. When the day of reckoning comes; what would you answer for these bloods? These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver, a Journalist can be reached on and +2348026797588
(sms only please). You can now follow on twitter @
fejirooliver86 and Facebook fejirooliver86


  1. Lol. Ejiro. You are a pro (I think), You should do more research before you put your wrong assumptions to print. Stop misleading people with your emotion laden epitaph.

  2. I could not finish reading your article because it was clearly wwritten by someone who does not understand medicine.your initial assessment should have started from the entry qualifications to medical school,course content,post graduate training content of all the disciplines and u will realise who the patients come to the hospital to see.
    For your information,all the investigations,tests,scan e.t.c can be done by doctors and diagnosis are 90. Percent clinical ,not by investigations.
    I know you are part of those who patronise labs and pharmacies where people feign to be doctors ,prescribe Drugs and have ultimately made Nigeria the typhoid and staph capital of the world.
    Educate yourself more before writing,thanks

  3. Fejiro has not been paid. He must actually be paid that's why he has to write.
    In this case, he is the judge as well as the "accuser". His facts are stretched and half truths.
    Anyone may head a hospital. A teaching hospital may however be headed by someone who has both clinical and academic exposure. It is true that not every DR (all 3 of Ejiro's Drs) would enrol in Health policy and administration (MPH or DPH) but Ejiro should tell us the % of Lab Scientists or Radiographers- even an intelligent guess would be in the units.
    The article seems to project to readers that the MBBS doctor is the least relevant to the health sector- a stretching of the author's imagination. The fact is everyone in the team is interdependent, indispensable and independent at the same time. The degree of independence is inversely proportional to the years of study (few months according to Fejiro) and variable.

  4. You obviously didnt do any research before writing this article. Did you take into consideration the nature of the medical training. 6 years of going through several sub units, pharmacology,opthalmology, radiology, heamatology etc. What other discipline in the health sector does this? You then do one more year doing your housemanship, further harnessing your skills by going through various sub specialties. Think it through yourself, i believe you're intelligent.Who should head a hospital, the one that has a narrow view of the needs in the health sector or the doctor who during training had the opportunity of passing through all these sub units?
    You talk about a few years of residency which is done after all i have mentioned above and i laughed. A specialist has spent no less than 4 extra years in a chosen field further harnessing his skills in that field. During this time he would have done a fellowship exam equivalent to the ones done in foreign countries to be called a consultant in that field. My fellow Nigerians if other members of the health team want these same qualifications isnt it only right for them to go pick up a jamb form to enter in for medicine. The medical schools are still open to all.

  5. I honestly cannot believe what I just read. What you have written is that the MBBS doctor is not useful or relevant in the health sector??? Are u for real? Is your thinking rational? Where is this coming from?? Pls tell us then what doctors do in the hospital? Why all the years of training? All the resources expended etc. Even if you don't fully understand, you should have asked questions or even searched the web. For your information, the doctor has the central role in healthcare. He it is who requires all these allied disciplines and is the link between all. The health sector is supposed to work as a family, but they (professions) are not all the same. The hands and the tongue don't have the same function, but for the body to be fine all organs need to work well. The health sector in nigeria has problems and the doctor is the least of them. Go round and ask. Please stop meddling in 'politics' you don't understand or rather can't understand judging from the poor quality of this write up. You sound bitter, are you alright or do you need a doctor?

  6. There is more to this than meets the eye!!! Hmmmnnn.... What has the Minister done? Or should he resign just because he is a doctor?? You mean that the reason our healthcare system is down right now is because the physiotherapist and the Lab technologist want to be Chief Medical Directors in the hospital?!!! God help us in this country!!! And this is why the common man should die??

  7. I know d above comments r from those who call themselves doctors....Rubbish

  8. Most of the comments above are biased. The writer is not far from the truth.
    The healthcare system in Nigeria is in doldrums, our health index is 178/189 in the world. The reason is easily traceable to lack of harmony in healthcare sector, this disharmony among Professionals in the healthcare sector is caused by GREED and nothing else.
    How does one justify fact that Doctors the 'Almighty Emperors' of the health sector will rather tear up their licenses than see Nurses become a Consultant Nurses, Med.Lab.Scientists become Consultant MLS, Pharmacists....Consultant Pharmacists, as obtainable in other climes where patients are not butchered by their Surgeons and become another count for statistics.
    In Nigeria, only ,medical doctors can be health ministers, only doctors make up management boards in the health ministry, Directorate of pharmaceutical services, laboratory services, nursing services, radiology services, e.t.c are all headed by medical doctors, not satisfied by their grip of monopoly in the health sector, they are still clamoring for Office of the Surgeon-General. How do place a ceiling of the professional growth of Clinical Scientists, Nurses, Pharmacists, Radiographers and expect a workable health sector?..Impossible.
    Can someone explain to us why a Doctor should head the Nursing council when we have qualified Nurses of international repute, why should a doctor head NAFDAC, when we have well qualified Pharmacists with vast knowledge in Pharmaco-literature.
    The Health ministers in the U.K and U.S are not Medical Doctors. Therefore it is easy to call US and UK Doctors to order when they butcher someone in the Surgical rooms or prescribe killer drugs unethically... does anyone remember Micheal Jackson's Doc?, if he were Nigerian..i bet he will still have his license intact and continue collecting his specialist allowance for killing patients like you and i, his colleagues who heads every part Medical sector would have protected him in the spirit of comradeship and 'esprit de corp'.
    Till we Nigerians are ready to rectify the mess in the health sector.....Let the killings continue!

  9. Lol. Usually I don't respond to things like this just because they are so inaccurate. Mr Oliver has no idea how healthcare works. First MBBS is a basic qualification with specialists with 5-10 years additional training to specialize. Dentists in Nigeria are part of the NMA and the NDA is an affiliate of the NMA, in other words Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists are one body.

    Second, as pointed out in a previous comment MOST diagnoses are made clinically. There are a lot of diseases that cannot be diagnosed by tests e.g acute appendicitis and upper airway obstruction. Sometimes tests are for treatment planning. Ultrasound scans and CT scans are performed by doctors who specialize in radiology not by radiographers (erroneously referred to as lab technologists in your article)

    Thirdly, the bulk of our patients are seen in the outpatient clinics with only a few critical ones admitted into the ward where one of the factors contributing to their recovery is nursing care. However the cornerstone of their recovery is appropriate management protocol instituted by the doctor. This is why the doctor is on the recipient of legal actions in cases of mismanagement.

    Finally, physical therapy plays a major role in returning function to a patient AFTER the acute cause of such loss of function has been treated by a doctor. In other words a patient who has had a strike may have surgery to drain a hhematoma in the brain, blood pressure control by a cardiologist among other things then when he is relatively stable he is sent for physical therapy. Physio may be required on the ward depending on the patient status.

    We must understand that health systems around the world where managerial systems are being practiced are failing and there is a gradual return to physician led healthcare. See

    P.S: I think all our hospitals should be privatized, people should be paid for the work they do (not for hanging around all day!}