FG plans foreign training for select doctors

The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa, says the Federal Government plans to send some medical personnel abroad for training in certain specialties with a view to checking medical tourism and enhancing research,

Alausa said the Federal Ministry of Health was working with the National Postgraduate Medical College, Ijanikin, Lagos State towards the plan.

The health minister spoke in Lagos on Friday during the investiture of Dr Peter Ebeigbe as the 23rd President of the

National Postgraduate Medical College, Ijanikin.

Ebeigbe, a fellow in the Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was elected on December 1, 2023, during the 131st statutory meeting of the governing board of the college, and he is expected to hold the position for the next two years after taking over from the immediate past president, Dr Akinsanya Osibogun.

Delivering a speech at the ceremony, Alausa said the ministry was developing new curricula to solve the challenges in the health sector.

He said, “I am to announce that the college, in collaboration with the ministry, is establishing training in many other sub-specialties to be able to treat Nigerians, reduce medical tourism, and enhance research.

“The new curriculum being developed includes interventional cardiology in the faculty of internal medicine and cardiac electrophysiology in the faculty of internal medicine. This is extremely important as a lot of people in our country now have pacemakers and automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators; interventional radiology in the faculty of radiology; pain medicine in the faculty of anesthesia; critical care medicine in the faculty of anesthesia; hospice and palliative medicine in the faculty of family medicine; and robotic surgery in the faculty of surgery.

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“The FMOH is putting mechanisms in place to fund this training abroad for selected candidates who will be bonded. Surgical oncology in the faculty of surgery; and transplant surgery in the faculty of surgery. This super specialty training in solid organ transplant will focus on kidney, liver, lung, and heart transplants for now.”

Speaking during his address, Ebeigbe lamented the dwindling earnings of medical professors and consultants compared to their counterparts in the Middle East.

He noted that the major reason why medical professionals in the country migrated abroad was for economic reasons while calling for urgent economic intervention.

Ebeigbe said, “One of my teachers who travelled to the Middle East and came back after many years explained things to me, stating that a Nigerian medical professor’s annual earnings gradually dwindled until they were less than the equivalent of $700.

“It was an insightful ‘economic’ intervention by the Federal Government for the enactment of the Medical Salary Scale, which resulted in better pay for doctors, that put an end to the medical brain drain.

“The root cause of brain drain is economic, and economic intervention is currently needed to stem the worsening cascade and prevent a collapse of the health system. As a person who relates closely and daily with resident doctors and trainers, I must inform the honorable Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare about the severity of the situation.”

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