Professionalism in the Nigerian Health sector is burdened with challenges that prevents optimization and excellence. Every time some new effort is made to stem out non-professionals, popularly known as ‘Quacks’, from the health system, it had failed or seemed to be impotent to fulfill the aim of its creation.
In the third quarter of last year, Medical Professionals ie Medical and Dental Practitioners took a firm stand against quacks in the sector by launching a novel “Doctors Stamp”. Practically, it is meant to be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. It was welcomed with so much cheer and pomp in the medical community and even in government circles.
The Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole was in attendance with other Nigerian Medical Association’s key figures including her National Chairman, Dr Mike Ogirima.
By why is there so much renewed hope in a “STAMP”?
THE DOCTORS’ STAMP (ORIGIN):
With so much non-medical and non-dental professionals attending to patients across the country, the NMA in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health was able to device the most feasible means of flushing out quacks from the system. Hence the Stamps.
The Nigerian Doctors’ Stamp is not like every other stamp used in business or official settings. It is totally unique, detailed and individualistic.
The typical Doctors’ Stamp is so detailed it carries the NMA’s logo, contains the name of the practitioner, identification number, year of joining the profession and other security features, which could only be seen through ultraviolet light.
To understand the uniqueness of the stamp, a doctor would have to obtain the Doctor Stamp following a series of structured steps. Already, some doctors have began collecting their stamp, but others are experiencing delays or registration issues. For a seamless registration process, a medical or dental professional could follow these directions HERE.
The medical authorities refer to the Doctor’s Stamp as a device? Considering the purpose for which it was invented and crafted, the term “device” suits the stamp, for it will be used to stamp out (literally, to pursue) non professionals out of business.
A DOCTORS’ STAMP – THE IMPLICATION
It is expected that every professional medical or dental practitioner will have a stamp to sign off any document, if not that document remains invalid. Already, with the individualistic design of the doctor stamp, it becomes easy to trace any medical decisions, problems and progress to individual doctors, making doctors more accountable and less negligent to their duties.
Socially, it narrows the operating field of quacks in the system and keeps them constantly looking over their shoulders if they act on any patient in a hospital setting. It will be the end of some quacks, who are bold enough and who take advantage of the numerous cracks in the health system, to work in more sophisticated private or public centers (places that only the best of the best should qualify to treat and care for patients).
It must be stated that local villages where basic hospital settings are lacking or not in existent will most likely be the least places to be impacted by the new device. On this note, there may be an influx of these quacks to the villages and remote areas, ‘far’ away from the reach of the law.
A DOCTORS’ STAMP – THE MOTIVE
Simply put, the motive for the Doctors’ Stamp is Stamp Out Quackery in the Medical Sector.
This means that procedures that are strictly meant for Medical or Dental Practitioners cannot and cannot be carried out by non professionals, even when there is a shortage of medical practitioners. This would check the penchant of some other professionals to step out of line, as a doctor’s stamp would be expected to be attached to any document for medico-legal reasons and for even documentation sake.
The stamp also would identify every doctor in Nigeria, in public and in private institutions. This would translate to the NMA being able to monitor the number of hospitals a doctor works in, the working time per day etc.
With the figures already against doctors in the doctors-to-patients ratio, the data collected could even be used by government to check the excesses of doctors who leave their work stations in public hospitals for a private hospital, for financial gains.
Indeed, the Doctors’ Stamp would be far reaching.
It is no wonder that the Federal Ministry of Health released this Call-To-Action Memo to All Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions… It understands the role this stamp would play in government’s hospitals.
Read the Memo Details below… Check Here For Full Memo
Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in her Annual Delegates Meeting (ADM) held in April, 2017 in Calabar approved the use of Doctors’ Stamp in all Medical Correspondences by Medical and Dental Practitioners in Nigeria.
I am directed to inform you that, the Doctors’ Stamp will be used in all medico-legal documents and reports by doctors in both Public and Private Establishment and also in identifying doctors in the country and a way of curbing quackery in the medical profession.
Consequent upon the above, you are to bring this to the attention of Medical and Dental Practitioners in your facility and enforce the use of the Doctors Stamp on all reports and Medico-legal document with effect from the 1st of April, 2018. Any document signed without the Stamp remains invalid and will not be recognized.
Kindly act accordingly.
Please accept the assurances of the Honourable Minister’s best regards.
Dr. O. J. Amedu, mni
Ag. Head/Department of Hospital Services
For: Honourable Minister
The Doctors’ Stamp, the latest device in Nigeria’s Medical Community, is coming at a time quacks are haemorrhaging the sector. As already highlighted, it is a device that could be leveraged by government to ensure her medical work force stay true to her contract of service.
April 1st 2018 would be a date that should go down in history as the beginning of the end for Medical Quacks in Nigeria, at least Prof Ogirima Mike believes so. Although it is not clear what will happen on that day, it is still a drag that most doctors do not know their fate if their stamp is not ready after April 1. Would there be days or weeks of grace? or is there a special arrangement for stamp-less doctors? These are questions bubbling in the minds of practitioners. But one thing is certain, Quacks should be ready to change job soonest.
However, the trajectory appears bleak for villages and remote settlements and communities whom would begin to experience an influx of quacks running away from the law, and who would be banking on the poor amenities to wreck ‘one more’ damage before the law gets to them.
Even though the Doctors’ Stamp is not a tool developed by Federal government but thankfully by the Nigerian Medical Association, the Government must be seen to own this device for effectiveness and for the motive of the Doctors Stamp to be seen and felt by all and sundry.