By Chioma Umeha
Stakeholders and experts have called on the Federal Government and every level of government to ensure adequate investment in the health industry for effective medical service delivery in the country.
Making the calls were participants at the 35th convocation ceremony of National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) including, Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe and Prof. Ademola Olaitan, the president of the college.
The Monarch who spoke after being conferred with the college’ Distinguished Fellowship Award during the ceremony, recently in Lagos said, it is time for Nigeria to step up action towards an integrated medical service delivery that is indigenous-based, rather using expatriate doctors.
Igwe Achebe argued that Nigeria doctors are the largest in United State of America and they are trained in Nigeria, only to leave immediately after graduation due to poor working conditions.
“Many Nigerians are medical doctors in USA and they are trained in Nigeria, yet, we do not have enough doctors to treat our people. We have to stay in the country and salvage the Nigerian medical sector and the country together. We do not need to leave the country because of frustration,” he said.
Obi regretted that despite the little money being voted to the sector yearly for its development, only little is being utilised for the improvement of the medical education and services.
He called on government and mangers of the sector to judiciously make use of money appropriated for the improvement of the sector.
“We hear that some equipment in our hospitals are not working due to lack of power, skills to operate machines, and we graduate people every year,” he said.
Prof. Olaitan while speaking with the INDEPENDENT, said the major challenges facing the college was poor funding and called on spirited individuals and corporate bodies, religious bodies and government to increase their investment in the college and medical sector
According to him, if the college is properly funded it would be saving millions of dollars which the country spend in training medical doctors abroad.
Olaitan said that over the years, the funding of the college has remained poor, noting that most of projects in the college are stalled due to lack of funds.
“Over the years, funds for projects are nothing to write home about in the college and that is affecting the development of the college for effective delivery.
We have project of N500 million, government promised to give us N20 million and at the end, it only gave N8 million,” he said
According to him, over the years the college is being run through internally generated revenue and what it generates cannot take it anywhere that is why we need partners.
He said that before now the college was not looking for partner for its development, but today there is need for the management to look beyond government for funding.
While delivering his welcome address, he said that the establishment and construction of clinical skill and simulation laboratory for training of resident doctors and for assessment of clinical skills and competence has always been on top priority of the college, though challenged by funds.
According to him, before now the college considered most project as that of health ministry, but now we are jointly soliciting support from both the health ministry and education ministry for the establishment of the clinical skill simulation across the six geo political zones.
He also disclosed that the college management was working on partnering with some manufacturing companies and collaborating with existing simulation and skill acquisition centres internationally.
Olaitan further lamented that postgraduate medical and dental education in Nigeria is passing through rough times as result of poor funding and frequent strikes in various teaching hospitals across the country.
The situation, he said does not allow trainees to fulfill the prescribed minimum period of clinical placement and rotations that qualify them for examinations.