Eminent medical practitioners, including Dr Tagbo Azubike, managing director, Lagoon Hospitals, Ikoyi; Dr Titilayo Ogunlana, consultant paediatrician, Lagoon Hospitals, Ikeja; Hon. John Ajibayo Adeyeye, special adviser on health to the Ondo State Governor; Prof. Akin Osigbogun, member of the United Nations Funds for population activities,Dr Adeyinka Adeniran senior lecturer in the Department of community health and primary healthcare of the Lagos state university, college of Medicine and others have condemned the massive brain drain among medical practitioners in the country, while they called for urgent steps to stem the tide.
The medical professionals made this remark at the 2018 Public Health Week, organised by the Lagos State University Medical Students Association (LASUMA), held at the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) Lecture Theatre, on 22 October, 2018.
The 2018 Public Health Week, which was a national event, also hosted LASUMA’s 11th Annual Symposium themed, “ The Scourge of Brain Drain in Nigerian Health Sector and sub themed: Access to Adequate Healthcare: Barriers and Solutions”.
Speaking during a panel discussion, Dr Azuibike and other panelists emphasized and debated with the students on why they shouldn’t leave the country after their training, seeking for better offers from other countries.
Dr Ogunlana, who was the first speaker amongst the panelists, spoke at length on why Nigerian young doctors and undergraduates should stay back and improve Nigeria’s health sector and what has to be done to make Nigerian doctors to stay back in Nigeria. She also remarked that corruption is a systemic problem and has to be solved holistically.
Dr Adeyinka, on his own, stated that first of all, the problem has to be identified and knowing who is to be blamed, then we can start thinking of proffering valuable solutions that would last longer and improve the Nigerian health sector.
Furthermore, he explained that the government is supposed to provide leadership and governance, while the doctors render good services to the patients but reversed is the case here in Nigeria.
He went ahead to explain saying, “looking at our infant mortality statistics, we can see how many infants have been lost due to poor services”. As a confirmation to his claims, he made mention of the fact that here in Nigeria, we have 1 doctor to 6,000 patients per day, “ how then do we expect them to attend to all the patients properly knowingly full well that at the end of the month, they will get a peanut payment as salary”, he queried.
In his own contribution, Dr Osibogun, who was represented by Dr (Mrs) Okafor spoke on the barriers of accessing primary healthcare and maternity centres for pregnant women, lactating mothers and why people lose interest in going to healthcare centres for treatments.
She pointed out so many reasons why people do not like to go to health centres and some of the reasons- are the language barrier, limited cash flow, transportation, delay in hospitals, easy access to doctors, difficulties in navigating a hospital, stigma and lack of trust, among others.
Dr Azuibike, also spoke on how privatising the health sector, which may and may not be of help to the Nigerian health sector.
He went further to explain that in a private sector, you have to be accountable and the health sector in Nigeria seems very impossible because of the cost and expenses of running a private hospital adequately and not to now talk of several hospitals. Inefficiency is one of the major problems of Nigeria health sector and it has to be corrected, in as much as accountability is needed.
Coming up for the second time, Dr. Ogunlana enlightened the students on identifying their passions and specialty in medicine, which she described as not an easy task, while she urged them not to choose a specialty based on their present challenges, but they should stay on their area of interest, and advance on it gradually.
The high point of the symposium was the presentation of awards to some outstanding students, speakers, panelists and lecturers.
Speaking with Pharmanewsonline in an exclusive chat after the event, some of the students expressed their delight with the organization of the programme, saying it was apt at such crucial time as this, when they needed it most, because most of the topics and sub-topics treated were on point, especially for the finalists in their part 6.
They were really impressed with the symposium, because it has changed their orientation of joining the band wagon of medical practitioners who are seeking all means of leaving the country.