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Di Wahala of Training Specialist Doctors and How Naija Go Take Move di Minsitry to Permanent Site – Dr Agwu

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Dr. Nnanna Agwu - Oga Presido for FMC Lokoja Resident Doctors

Di Presido of di join-bodi of doctors wey dey train to become specialists (Association of Resident Doctors – ARD) for Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja, Dr Nnanna Agwu talk say trainning of specialist doctors don improve but time don reach for di ministry to move to permanent site.

Dr. Agwu talk say di law wey ogbonge government do in 2017 to control di training of specialist doctors – Medical Training Control Act – don help improve things as plenty hospitals don begin dey train residents. But he say hospitals no dey employ enough, some medical directors dey sack dem anyhow before dem finish dem training while other hospitals no dey put equipment dem need to do treat patients very well.

In short, Dr. Agwu follow us talk plenty other things with big big grammar as Pidgin English no gree am talk. See am below as he take talk am direct by himself:

How you see di mata of training specialist doctors (residency training) for we kontri Naija?

Residency training in Nigeria has improved over the years as many hospitals now have accreditation to train doctors in different specialties and sub specialties. For example FMC Lokoja at incepton in 1999 didn’t have the capacity to train residents but now has to capacity to train residents in surgery (operation doctor), internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology (women doctor), anaesthesiology (those wey dey make pesin sleep before operation), ophthalmology (eye doctor) and Paediatrics (pikin doctor). And to the glory of God many fellows are being produced today. So this has helped to boost the man power needs of Kogi state as you don’t have to go outside the state to seek tertiary care in the above mentioned fields. Also before now the training wasn’t structured as each hospital had their own interpretation of what the training entails despite the regulatory guidelines by the different colleges but with the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) 2017, this has brought some order to the training nationally. As this provides a clear cut structure on who a resident doctor is, tenure on residency removing the arbitrariness of sacking residents at will by medical directors, with a framework for the funding of the training by the government. So in that sense we can say there is some improvement.

However, there is more to be desired as some of this departments have partial accreditations which means that we have to go to other hospitals for posting to enable us complete our training. Asides this there has been the issue of funding for the program as government before now found it difficult to make funds available for training which has often brought our association at loggerheads with the hospital management, luckily the Hospital management in Lokoja has been trying its best to fund our exams and update fees. But we with the MRTA we hope the issue of funding will be laid to rest permanently.

Another issue we hope this act will correct is the issue of arbitrary exiting of resident doctors, over the years some MDs have exited residents unjustly. Currently 30 of our colleagues at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) have been given sack letters before they are due to complete the training. This is totally uncalled for especially at a time when we are battling with COVID 19. We are not just concerned about their sack, but we know that no hospital in Nigeria has adequate manpower at the moment. So why sack people when you don’t have enough more so when they are not yet due to exit? This makes one wonder where common sense has gone to. Which brings me to the concern of inadequate manpower in our teaching hospitals. So many hospitals are not meeting their quota on the intake of residents, this means that a doctor in some instances are covering works meant for up to 30 others, how will the doctor perform at his best with this? This robs the patient the benefit of enjoying the best of the doctor. This is why I am calling for more investment in health, many doctors are roaming the streets looking for placement for residency training. And after many years they move to other climes seeking greener pastures.

More investments need to be made infrastructure wise, it is not acceptable that any tertiary institution would not have a CT scan at this age. Lack of equipment limits training and research. Nigeria as big as it is should have the best and very best, out institutions should be rightly centers of excellence and research as it is.

Wetin you wan make government do on top residency training to help move di ministry to permanent site?

Thank you for this question. To improve residency training, government needs to strategically increase funding and investment in health. The infrastructure in the hospitals need to be upgraded to meet international standards. It is not acceptable that a teaching hospital or federal medical center will have a non-functional intensive care unit (ICU). Residency shouldn’t be done at suboptimal conditions with poor call rooms, poor libraries etc. It is not acceptable that residents should be moving around the country to do outside postings because of partial accreditation.

The issue of life insurance and hazard allowance for doctors and other healthcare workers should be looked into critically because we cannot be at the frontline risking our lives and out families be relinquished to penury when the breadwinner is no longer alive. Mind you this year alone we have lost about 6 doctors to Lassa fever, 5 to COVID 19, and many others testing positive to COVID 19. So every healthcare worker is at risk and at the frontline of this disease. The new hazard allowance approved for 3 months should apply to all health workers and implemented beyond three months.

Lastly the medical directors should abide by the laws guiding medical residency in Nigeria to avoid unnecessary frictions with the associations. Nigeria has all it takes to be great if only we think strategically plan, accordingly and invest appropriately. Thank you.

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