FG must address challenges of medical manpower – Cardiologists cry out

FG must address challenges of medical manpower – Cardiologists cry out

  • There’s currently one cardiologist to 400,000 patients, the society says

The Nigerian Cardiac Society, NSC, an association of Cardiologists in Nigeria has called on the federal government to build up stronger infrastructures and attend to the welfare needs of medical manpower in the country to avoid a time bomb.
The association made this call at it’s 50th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference held in Lagos with the theme: ‘Delivering cardiovascular care in emergency situation’.
The group lamented that despite the fact that cardiovascular diseases are on the rise yet there is a massive brain drain of cardiologists which is induced by poor working environment.
The President of the association, Dr Ikechukwu Oga, a Consultant Cardiologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, said, at the present, there is one doctor to 400, 000 patients. 
He said: “We have about 500 cardiologists to over 200 million population and it is possible that this 500 cardiologists is less because a lot of our people are migrating out of the country for lack of job satisfaction, monitory and other wise.
“Averagely, we probably produce about 10 cardiologists per year. And, we are loosing a lot, even those practicing are largely concentrated in the big cities.
“Despite all these problems, we are making a lot of strides in the profession. Some years ago, we couldn’t do open heart surgeries in many places in this country, we can’t even do what we call invasive procedures and noninvasive procedures in many places yet some of these things are being developed in many centers now.
“Times are hard but we are also working hard to make sure that patients don’t have to be going to India to have all these things.
“Since 2015, our members have carried out over a 1000 surgeries in the country despite the problems and with good result.
“So it means that if all these centers are properly funded,we will have job satisfaction, we can do more and then keep the money that people are trading outside in the name of medical tourism into the economy,” Oga added.
Also speaking, Consultant Cardiologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH Prof. Amam Mbakwem, said the annoying thing is that as they are training, they’re leaving. 
Mbakwem said: “First of all, the facilities where we practice; the hospitals don’t give you tools you need to practice the skills that you have, that’ is on one side.
“And then, what our colleagues do outside, we have to struggle to do it here and then after doing it, we are not paid any thing commensurable.”
She added: “Again, Nigeria is bleeding money because this is one place where we spend peanut to train doctors, most of the times, it is the government’s money that we use to train doctors. And then you finish training them and somebody poaches them, and they go to work for somebody else.”
In his view, Professor of Medicine, Rivers State University, Chizindu Alikor, if the trend of migration continues for five to 10 years from now, “we probably will not have doctors and specialist cardiologists available to attend to the health needs of this country.”
He charged government to wake up in addressing those issues that are responsible for this level of brain drain.
Also, to address the high cost of drugs and consumables, the society urged government to fully embrace universal health coverage at all levels.

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