—As the committee on Health held its Public Hearing in Grand Style
The Federal House of Representatives Thursday 3rd November moved to establish the Dietitian Council of Nigeria to regulate the profession of Dietetics and strengthen credibility and competency in the health sector as its committee on Health Institutions Led by Hon Betty Apiafi carried out its mandate on the need to ensure that charlatans do not invade the profession and refutation of practitioners of the profession is abolished.
The plenary started with the declaration of the public hearing open by the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representative, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara who was represented by the Minority Whip, Hon. Yakubu Barde, The Speaker enjoined the stakeholders to make informed contribution noting that everybody’s views either for or against the subjects being addressed at the public hearing will go a long way in assisting the Committee on Health Institutions make informed recommendations to the House.”
However, drama started when Dr. Wapada Balami, Director of Hospital Services who represented the Minister of Health, Prof. Mike Ogirima, President of NMA and Dr. Andulmumini Ibrahim, Registrar Medical and Dental Council tried to oppose the bill saying that the country is trying to cut down the cost of governance that by creating a new council we are creating new costs; But unfortunately, was shut down by the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Betty Apiafi; who said the Ministry should allow the National Assembly worry about budgetary provision adding that professionals have a right to associate.
“We make budget provisions from the National Assembly. “You have not told us you have problems with running the councils, she said.”
Also Prof. Mike Ogirima, President of NMA and Dr. Andulmumini Ibrahim, Registrar Medical and Dental Council respectively argued on the need to include NMA as members of the Council; but the eloquent chairperson of the Committee Hon Betty Apiafi immediately reacted saying it is very wrong to intrude in other peoples professional practice knowing that NMA has their own regulatory council and that they should allow others have their own regulatory body for better services.
As a matter of Fact, Prof. Elizabeth Kanayo Ngwu, President Dietitians Association of Nigeria, Dr. Chika Ndiokwelu, Country Representative International Confederation of Dietetics Associations, Dr. Grace Fadupin, President Institute for Dietetics in Nigeria, Dtn. Emmanual Ogbuigwe and Barr. Tajudeen Olutoye, all together put up a spirited defense in favour of the bill. Also present was Dtn. Titilope Rotimi, Vice President Dietitians Association of Nigeria, Dtn. Chinedu Okpara, Public Relation Officer Dietitians Association of Nigeria, Dtn. Nelly Akuchie, Head of Department Nutrition and Dietetics Aso-Rock Clinic Presidential Villa, Dr. Afam Olivia Anene, Head of Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Imo State University, who represented Dietitians in the Academia, Dtn Darlington Uzoahia, who represented the Dietitians in Private Practice, Dtn. Nkechi Odigwe, Head of Department Nutrition and Dietetics Federal Teaching Hospital Abakiliki, Dtn. Aloysius Maduforo. Dtn. Patrick Ogbonna, Dtn. Jane Anyanwu and host of other Dietitians and stakeholders..
Meanwhile, the Committee Chairman on Healthcare Services Hon (Deacon) Chike Okafor equally reinstated his support for the bill and noted his quest to pursue with great vigor an adequate healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.. The renowned members representing Obowo, Ihitte Uboma and Ehime Mbano Federal Constituency spoke extensively in favour of the bill reinstating that the bill will help to rescue the health system from quackery and at large strengthen the health of Nigerian and her citizens.
Dietitian Darlington Uzoahia reporting from National Assembly!