Medical doctors are inadequate in Nigeria

Yekini Jimoh

The Vice Chancellor of Federal University Lokoja, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi, has said that medical doctors are inadequate in Nigeria just as the federal government upgraded Lokoja Medical Centre to a Teaching hospital.

The FMC, now Federal Teaching Hospital, FTH, Lokoja, is to serve the medical and clinical students of the Federal University, Lokoja.

This was revealed by the Vice Chancellor of Lokoja Varsity, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, during the joint press conference by the school and the Federal Medical Centre.

According to him, about 80,000 registered Medical Practitioners are on the Register of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) as of May 2022. Out of this number, about 40,000 Medical Doctors are actively practicing in Nigeria.

“By World Health Organization (WHO) standards, one Doctor is to 100 patients, but in Nigeria, it is one Doctor to more than 4,000 Patients. This is grossly inadequate and unacceptable, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. It is indeed most worrisome in the case of Kogi State”.

Prof. Olayemi, elated about the development, said the medical and health school, which kicked off admission last year, is now in a better position to produce goods for medical practitioners in a couple of years.

“Federal University Lokoja College of Health Sciences was established by the Statute of the College and approved at the 61st Special Senate of the University held on Thursday, 27th May 2021.

The Governing Council of the University considered and approved the appointment of a seasoned Professor of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery and Former President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Professor Mike Ozovehe Ogirima, mni to pioneer the commencement of Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB’BS) marking the first phase of the several programmes in Dentistry, Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing Sciences, Medical Imaging Sciences among others.

“Consequent upon the above, the Governing Council ably led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Distinguished Senator Chris Adighije, Ph.D., aggressively ensured that this noble objective of establishing Medicine and Surgery in this University is attained.

The University Management and Senate were constantly guided and supported by the Governing Council, especially in the set realizable action plan; to bridge the gap of the potential candidates not succeeding in gaining admission to read Medicine and Surgery in the existing Universities in the catchment areas.

“Research conducted recently shows that in the next 10 years, Kogi State Medical Centres and Hospitals will experience great inertia of Medical Doctors of Kogi State origin.

About 98% of students of Kogi State origin that applied for Medicine and Surgery with outstanding performance in JAMB and Post UTME in universities within the catchment areas of Kogi State are vehemently denied admission to read medicine and surgery in those universities.

In most cases, some read single honours courses like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc. Based on the above denials, Federal University Lokoja established its own College of Health Sciences to address the seeming problem.

“The University was aware of the enormous cost implication of establishing Medicine and Surgery, especially regarding adequate and qualified professionals, availability of Teaching Hospitals, Functional Laboratories, Hostels, Library and so on.

This was why the Management of the University approached the Management of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja (FMC) to seek collaboration and conversion of the Medical Centre into a Teaching Hospital. The Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja (FMC) is to train Medical and Premedical students of the College and, in addition, Laboratories and Clinics.

“Consequent upon the above understanding between the University and Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja (FMC), a Bill for the conversion/upgrade of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, to a Teaching Hospital was sponsored by Distinguished Senator Smart Adeyemi, representing Kogi West Senatorial District at the 9th Senate. The Bill was passed into Law by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Tuesday, 21st June 2022.

On 10th February 2023, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, approved the upgrade of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State, to Federal Teaching Hospital, Lokoja, Kogi State vide letter referenced  SGF6/T4/380.

“By this development, the University is expected to provide a conducive environment for the training of premedical Students in Medical and Allied Sciences before moving to the Teaching Hospital for Clinical Training. The University’s responsibility to the Hospital will include the construction of Hostels, Medical Laboratory Complex, and Lecture Auditoriums within the Hospital.

“Let me also state that the MB’BS programme successfully admitted its first set of students for the 2020/2021 Academic Session in 2022. The University will, in the next week, release the admission list for the 2021/2022 academic session for the MB’BS programme.

“The Provost of the College, Prof. Mike Ozovehe Ogirima, is currently shopping for top Medical Scholars/ Academics that will occupy the vacant positions in the College. It is my believe that qualified Professors, Associate Professors, and Senior Lecturers in the various fields of Medicine and Surgery within and outside Nigeria will take advantage and apply to fill the vacant positions. Visiting and Sabbatical appointments have been granted to some Professors who are currently interfacing with the MB’BS students.

“It is our determination to ensure that our Medical College becomes one of the best in Nigeria. We are poised to attract the best Medical Academics to the Federal University Lokoja College of Health Sciences. I am also aware of the competencies of the Consultants at the Teaching Hospital.

“The combination of these competencies and seasoned Medical Academics will, no doubt, produce all-round medical graduates that will fill the yawning gap in the Health sector of Kogi State and Nigeria.

“With commitment, trust, and enthusiasm, I am confident that Federal University Lokoja College of Health Sciences and Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja will produce classical and well-rounded Medical Professionals that will stand the test of time.”

The FMC Chief Medical Director, Dr. Olatunde Alabi, said the centre has now been upgraded to a teaching hospital and can now operate maximally as some of the medical personnel were under-utilized.

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