The Minister of State for Health, Mr Ekunmankama Nkama, has hinted at special funding for the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, to assist in training specialists.
He said that the level of brain drain in the medical field was also worrisome, and efforts were on to reverse the trend.
Nkama said these at the 16th Annual Scientific Conference and Fellows’ Congress, organised by Post Graduate Medical College Fellows’ Association, in Lagos on Tuesday.
The minister was represented by Dr Adedamola Dada, the Medical Director, Federal Medical Center, Ebute-Meta.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the conference tagged “Ekoakete 2022”, is to end on August 12 and has the theme “Strengthening The Health System in The Midst of a Pandemic”.
Nkama said that special funding for the college would help to accelerate the training of specialists in Nigeria.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Health sought to collaborate with the college to rapidly deploy simulation equipment and support the proposed regional training centres to strengthen residency training.
“The brain drain phenomenon in the health sector in Nigeria has been noted by the Federal Government and efforts are already in place to find a lasting solution to the problem.
“The loss of many highly skilled and educated people from the country to the UK, Canada and Australia has become more worrisome to health authorities.
“Scarcity of healthcare workers is the primary challenge in the health sector today,” he said.
Nkama, however, said that some of the possible solutions to reverse the brain drain and increase the retention of medical doctors and dentists included increasing wages.
Others, he said, are; improvement in welfare packages, payment of a rural allowance for doctors, equipping health facilities, improvement in public infrastructure, and increase in retirement age for doctors and other health professionals.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said that the government through the Federal Ministry of Health embarked on building and equipping molecular laboratories in all federal tertiary hospitals.
He noted that the infrastructure would help to enhance the capacity to diagnose diseases.
The minister said that other interventions carried out by the government include the installation of oxygen plants, the building of isolation centres and other infrastructural facilities in the tertiary hospitals.
He said that the government also increased budgetary allocations to health institutions and embarked on training frontline health workers responsible for the management of COVID-19 cases.
Prof. Akin Osibogun, President of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, said that the theme of the conference was an important issue worthy of deliberations.
Osibogun said that this would enable participants to make appropriate recommendations to further strengthen the health care delivery system.