‘Nigeria Requires 290, 000 Medical Doctors to Meet WHO Standard’
A medical expert. Prof. Abdulkadir Tabari has called for concerted efforts of all stakeholders to make Nigeria’s medical residency program relevant and visible in the global mix.
Tabari who is the Chief Medical Director (CMD) Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna made the call in an address at the 39th annual General meeting and scientific conference of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Thursday in Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the conference is ‘Human Resource Challenges of Residency Training: Nigerian situation in the Global mix.’
Tabari said it was important to strengthen the residency programme in order to bridge existing huge gap in doctor to patient ratio in the country.
According to him, a study by WHO published by Spectator Index on January 13 shows Nigeria produces 0.37 doctors per 1000 people.
“According to MDCN as at 2018, there are about 72,000 nationally registered Nigerian doctors, with only about 35,000 practicing in Nigeria.
“This means there is about 1 doctor to every 5 ,700 Nigerians. Far below the WHO standard of 1 doctor to 600 people.”
Tabari said the country needs about 290,000 doctors to fill in the decifit to attain the World Health Organisation standard.
He however noted that Residency programme has recorded some important milestones over the years in spite of numerous challenges.
“Despite the low rate by WHO standard, many doctors cannot get government jobs, leaving many to seek jobs with private facilities most of whom give very menial payment and operate below standard.”
The CMD challenged training institutions to come up with training courses for consultants to keep them abreast of current developmentS in medicine as a way forward in the wake of challenges in Nigerian health system.
He also called for enabling environment for quality research by trainers and residents.
He advised government to partner with equipment manufacturers and business moguls on public private partnership to supply needed facilities for training in line with residency training act.
He added that relevant agencies such as medical and dental councils should partner with state governments towards establishling more medical schools and health facilities for training of House Officers and Resident Doctors.
He said government at both Federal and state levels should ensure adequate funding of tertiary health institutions.
Tabari advocated for funding of projects for the rehabilitation and rebranding of tertiary hospitals at least every five years, to ensure sustained optimum hospital environment conducive for healthcare service delivery, teaching and learning.
Earlier in his speech, NARDA National President, Dr Olusegun Olaopa said sound and effective residency training is key to a functional healthcare system as it is the only means of ensuring availability of specialist services to Nigerians.
He said globally emphasis is gradually shifting away from mere specialisation to sub specialisation.
” The human resource challenge has been with us for a while but has rapidly metastasized recently as our health professionals have become one of the major exports to the world.”
According to him, the next level agenda will be a mirage if serious and sincere efforts are not made to address the human resource challenges mitigating against the availability of well trained and highly motivated specialists and other healthcare workers.
” The recent assent into law of the medical residency training act is indeed a step in the right direction,” Olaopo said.
In her welcome remarks, the ARD President, ABUTH Shika Dr Bilkis Muhammad said the AGM come at a time when there was need to look at the structure of the residency program and situate it appropriately in the global context.
” This will help us in coming up with far reaching recommendations that will reshape it and ultimately the health sector as Residency training is the core fabric of health sector.”(NAN)
Bauchi State Detects 7,806 Cases of Tuberculosis
Bauchi State recorded 7,806 cases of tuberculosis in 2022, Dr Sani Mohammad, Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria said on Monday in Bauchi.
He made the declaration at a news conference to mark the 2023 World Tuberculosis Day.
Mohammed represented the Commissioner for Health, Dr Sabiu Gwalabe, at the news conference.
He said the figure was an increase of 2,154 over the 5,652 recorded in 2021.
The WHO set aside March 24 to mark the World Tuberculosis Day annually to raise awareness about tuberculosis and efforts to end the pandemic.
He said also that the 2022 figure, representing about 53 per cent increase of the 2021 level was the highest recorded so far in the state.
“Out of the 5,518 new cases that were placed on treatment in 2022, about 5,192; that is 94 per cent were successfully treated at the end of the year.
“Bauchi State currently has 794 free tuberculosis treatment centres, 127 diagnostic centres and 15 GeneXperts,’’ he said.
Mohammed said the state government, in collaboration with implementing partners such as Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, was conducting active case findings across Bauchi State.
He said that the 2023 World Tuberculosis Day would be celebrated with series of phone-in television and radio programmes to increase awareness.
Nutritional support for some patients and combined free testing and treatment for tuberculosis, COVID-19, HIV, Hepatitis and Malaria, would also be provided, he added.
In his remarks, Dr Yakubu Abdullahi, Director, Tuberculosis Control Programme in Bauchi State, said the agency would train paediatric doctors from secondary and tertiary institutions on case detection among children.
He said that there was collaboration also between the agency and nutritional clinics in the state to detect tuberculosis in children.
“Diagnosing tuberculosis in children is a challenge, but we have decided to use their stools as samples,’’ Abdullahi said. (NAN)
EU Allocates N75m to Prevent Diphtheria Spread in Nigeria
By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
In order to help Nigeria to prevent the spread of diphtheria cases which started at the beginning of 2023, the European Union, EU, has released €150,000 (N75 million) in humanitarian funds.
The money has been released to assist the most affected communities in the states of Kano, Katsina, Lagos, and Osun.
A statement issued by the EU and made available to journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said the EU funding would enable the Nigerian Red Cross to provide emergency assistance to reduce the impact of diphtheria on affected and at-risk communities through risk communication, outbreak control activities, surveillance, patient referral and hygiene promotion, and early case detection in affected areas.
“Humanitarian assistance will, directly and indirectly, target around 1,585,080 people, with a particular focus on vulnerable people at risk of diphtheria, those living in sheltered communities or hard-to-reach locations.
“This funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“On 20 January 2023, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) officially declared an outbreak of diphtheria in Kano and Lagos states after several suspected cases appeared a month earlier. The disease then spread rapidly to other states. From 136 cases in the first week of 2023, the country now records a total of 733 suspected cases and deplores 89 fatalities.
“The outbreak is described as one of the most serious occurrences in Nigeria in recent years. Children aged between 5 and 18 years are the most vulnerable group.
“Diphtheria is a highly contagious bacterial infection transmitted between humans. It causes an infection of the upper respiratory tract, which can lead to breathing difficulties and suffocation. Those most at risk are children and people who have not been fully vaccinated against the disease,” the statement read.
Tuberculosis: Africa Achieves 26% Death Reduction, WHO Says
By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the African continent was progressing in its efforts to mitigate Tuberculosis related deaths, as it has achieved a 26 per cent success rate so far.
WHO’s Africa Regional Director Matshdiso Moeti, made this known on Friday, in a statement released to mark the 2023 world Tuberculosis day.
“The region is now on the threshold of reaching 35 percent TB death reduction,” she said, adding that the 26 percent reduction recorded was achieved between 2015 and 2021.
However, Matshdiso said seven countries— Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia have achieved a 35 per cent reduction level in TB death since 2015.
Furthermore, Matshdiso decried the challenges in TB prevention and control experienced in the region.
“First, there is a delay in diagnosis and testing. There is still a notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB – 40 per cent of people living with TB did not know of their diagnosis or it was not reported in 2021.
“One million people are living with TB in the region and have not been detected.
“Second, the link between TB and HIV. Approximately 20 per cent of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.
“Third, the multi-drug resistant TB. In the African region, only 26 per cent of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment,” she said.
Albeit, Matshdiso expressed delight that member states are increasing the uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care and better outcomes.
She further noted that in the African Region, the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.
“It is particularly important to find and diagnose cases of TB so that the patients can be treated, and their contacts offered preventive medication. Nigeria is an example of a country that managed to significantly increase national TB case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches such as the expansion of the daily observed treatment protocols, use of digital technologies, Community Active Case Finding, and enlisting Public Private Mix initiatives.”
She said that TB required concerted action by all sectors: from communities and businesses to governments, civil society, and others.
“We must work together to develop innovative approaches to reach vulnerable populations and ensure that they have access to quality TB care and management,” said Matshdiso.
She further disclosed that the second UN High-level Meeting on TB in September 2023 will provide a rare opportunity to give global visibility to the disease and mobilize high-level political commitment to end TB.
DAILY ASSET reports that World TB Day is commemorated yearly on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of this preventable disease and call for accelerated action to end it.
This year’s theme is “Yes, we can end TB,” highlighting the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with the drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals
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