The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has said it is working out a plan with the Federal Government to increase the numbers of doctors and other healthcare workers trained in the country.
The MDCN is the body that regulates the practice of medicine, dentistry and alternative medicine in Nigeria.
The move, the council said, would help the country to address the current shortfall and shortages of doctors, medical practitioners and other healthcare workers in the Health sector.
MDCN’s Registrar, Dr. Tajudeen Sanusi, announced the plan while addressing reporters after the induction of graduates of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) into the medical and dental professions.
Dr. Sanusi said the Bola Tinubu’s administration had demonstrated that it was ready to tackle personnel shortage in the Health sector by asking the council to work towards doubling the capacity of medical students and doctors in training without compromising the standard.
He said: “The present government, through the two ministers in the Health Ministry, have been very passionate about these things. That is why they said we should try and see how we can double the capacity. When you look at it literally, you will say: ‘Double capacity? Is that not going to lower the standard?’
“But when you to listen to them, they said we have many Federal medical centres where we have many specialists. There are many specialist hospitals with no specialists. Then, why can’t medical students rotate through those facilities?
“When you look at the United Kingdom (UK), medical students and doctors are never trained in one location. They move from location to location because each of the locations has got its own strength.
“In that, we are working hand-in-hand with them (government), trying to see how we can increase carrying capacity. But the caveat is that we must not lower the standard.
“We are already identifying where problems are likely to arise. But we are trying all our possible best to see how we can improve in those areas so that we increase the carrying capacities of the laboratories at Basic Medical Sciences and other disciplines. And again, there is the recruitment of qualified personnel. Presently, most medical schools are saying they are short of personnel.”
“We need to applaud the Federal Government for rescinding a decision that in service before, you retired as a Level 17 officer. If they wanted to engage you on contract, you would come down to Level 16. But they have removed that for the doctors; they can get you back on the same level you retired on and pay you the same salary on which you retired.
“Then, we are trying to explore that for the benefit of the country. This is because there is no way you can actually dissociate medical education from healthcare delivery system; because it is skill acquisition through the hospitals, through the availability of human resources that teach these medical students.
“We are trying our best. That is why we are collaborating with the present ministers so that we can actually increase the number of doctors and other healthcare workers we train.
“We have observed that if you trained 10 before, out of the number, four or five will try to go out and you are left with five. If you now train 20, possibly seven or eight will go out and then you have about 12 remaining, it will improve the healthcare delivery system in the country.”
The MDCN registrar, who said many young and newly trained medical professions who relocated to seek greener pastures outside the country through the “japa syndrome”, misconstrued the system.
He said the council could not stop anyone from seeking greener pastures elsewhere.
“Our advice is that when they go out there, let them avail themselves of postgraduate opportunities with the hope of returning to Nigeria to offer support for the healthcare workforce and to show some kind of gratitude to the Federal Government. That is the way we look at it,” Sanusi said.