President of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, NPMCN, Prof. Akin Osibogun, is of the opinion that Nigeria may not produce new medical doctors in 2022 as a result of the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
Warning of the consequnces of such development, Osibogun, who spoke to journalists in Lagos, stated that the issues leading to the shortage of doctors in Nigeria year-in, and year-out, must be addressed holistically for the benefit of Nigerians and the healthcare system.
“Nigeria can no longer fold its arms and allow the trend to continue,” he said.
“The prolonged strike by the ASUU makes it unlikely for Nigeria to graduate any doctor this year and there may not be House Officers next year, meaning there won’t be medical youth corps members in 2024 and there won’t be any doctor to enrol in our Residency Programme.”
Lamenting the development, the College President, who said that the Federal Government has been spending a huge amount training doctors in all the teaching hospitals, Federal Medical Centres, accredited General Hospitals across the country to become specialists.
Osibogun said that a total of 416 Fellows, 61 Doctor of Medicine graduates, and 14 in Postgraduate Diploma in Anaesthesia, are to be celebrated during the College’s 40th Convocation ceremony on September 15.
Currently 8,500 doctors were undergoing comprehensive training in various hospitals.
He said since the inception of the College, it has trained 7,500 specialists who are providing services within and outside Nigeria said they are postgraduate doctors trained to offer safe health care delivery to Nigerians
Lamenting young doctors migrating abroad, the College President blamed the development on what he described as “certain push and pull factors”, that include lack of job satisfaction, poor remuneration, and shortage of medics in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and other developed nations are.
“We have a shortage of doctors in Nigeria and the situation is being compounded by migration of doctors. Those countries pulling out doctors are providing them incentives such as better pay and condition of service.
“We also consider our work environment. If you have the skills and training but you don’t have the necessary equipment to work with, you will be frustrated as a doctor watching your patients die. Job satisfaction has to be there for you to stay on it. Good remuneration is also very important to keep our doctors in Nigeria. These are some of the issues these young doctors disclose to us when we engage them.”
He said if Nigeria improves its work environment and incentives for the doctors, most of them will prefer to stay back.
“For instance, the government can build houses for the doctors to acquire on a mortgage. When some of these things are in place, nobody will then want to become a second-class citizen in another man’s country.
“On our part, we are focused on training more doctors to become specialists and consultants so that even when some leave we will still have a significant number in Nigeria. But training more has to begin from the medical school.”
He said the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Afe Babalola would be awarded Honorary Fellowship, having contributed to the development of postgraduate medical education in Nigeria and health care generally.
“The event will be an opportunity for us to showcase the ability of the college and to request the support of the members of the public so that we can train better and train more.
“To train more doctors; the College has adopted technology and established simulation training centres across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.”
He said the Centres will allow training doctors using artificial equipment before they move on to human beings.
Osibogun called on partners and spirited individuals to join the college in advancing the course of postgraduate medical education in Nigeria by supporting the establishment of simulation centres across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“We only have one in this college and another in Abuja. The Borno government is already showing interest so that we can have one in Maiduguri.