The state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) condemned what it termed the misuse of health officers.
It had been gathered that many residents of rural areas in the state had deserted the Primary Health Centres in their various villages, as a result of the poor quality of Medicare available in their clinics.
Investigations had revealed that no fewer than 10 out of the 33 Local Government Areas in the state were without qualified medical doctors, who could coordinate the activities of the various rural health centres within the councils.
In an interview with journalists on Tuesday, the NMA Chairman in the state, Dr. Abimbola Lewis, said the use of environmental officers as PHC coordinators was not proper.
Lewis noted that the functions, training and curriculum of the environmental officers differed from those of medical doctors who are constitutionally mandated to be in charge of the PHCs.
But in a reaction to the issue, the state Health Commissioner, Dr. Owolabi Babalola, told our correspondent on Tuesday that Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala had given an approval for the recruitment of doctors as PHC coordinators.
Babalola said, “The governor had two weeks ago, given an approval for the immediate recruitment of qualified medical doctors to take over as PHC coordinators in local government areas where there were none.”
The NMA boss wondered why the state government was comfortable having environmental officers as PHC coordinators when it knew that they could not do the jobs of doctors.
He said the government found itself in a tight corner and had to settle for environmental officers as PHC coordinators when it could not pay medical doctors in its employment well.
Lewis said, “The Oyo State Government has enough money to pay the doctors but when it failed to do so, hence there was a mass exodus of doctors from its employment to other places.”
However, the health commissioner hinted that the salaries of medical doctors were being increased by the present administration in the state and that the new PHC coordinators would also benefit from the largesse.
It had been reported that environmental officers took over the jobs of medical doctors as PHC coordinators in Ibarapa North, Ogbomoso South, Saki West, Lagelu, Atibo and some other areas in the state.
Investigations also revealed that the PHC system crumbled in the state due to the shortage of qualified personnel and finance, inadequate transportation, inaccessibility to communities and political instability.