Lagos, Aug. 28, 2015 (NAN) A physician, Dr Funso Odunukan, has said that partnership between the public and private sectors can help in the training of more doctors aspiring to become physicians.
Odunukan, who works at a U.S.-based health facility, Mayo-Clinic, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that the partnership would also go a long way to reduce brain drain from Nigeria.
“We have to be creative; why we are at this state is that people have raised the point that we are not training enough doctors; that the population is exploding and we are not keeping up.
“And so, private universities are licensed to also get into the medical education business and even straining out doctors, but the hospitals to train them, to finish their trainings into physicians have not kept up as well.
“We have seen examples of private-public partnerships that work.
“Essentially, what it entails now is that you have to complete three months in medicine, surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology.
“As it exists right now, all of those are done in a single university.
“So, you can rotate through different and invite private hospitals that are successful, like Reddington, St Nicholas, Lagoon and have their doctors be associate faculties on universities.
“So, Lagoon may be linked to LUTH, Reddington may be linked to LASUTH and their doctors will also be clinical faculty.
“So, all of these young physicians can rotate through and do some of their rotations, particularly identifying hospitals that have strength in specific things.
“The goal is to complete three months under the guidance of somebody, who can take responsibility for you.
“Inviting private sector into training also may be the creative way to do that.“
According to him, the country needs to build the capacity of doctors and researchers in the country to enable them participate fully in the delivery of quality healthcare.
Odunukan spoke of the need to encourage Nigerian doctors in the Diaspora to return to the country by making the healthcare delivery system in the country was functional.
“We need to be able to build up the capacity of the people on ground. We need to prioritise preventing the brain drain and converting that into a brain gain.
“Nigeria has some of the best brains practising all over the world. How do we make it easy for these people to come back and invest and give back.
“But, we need to make a concerted effort to reach out to our brains in the Diaspora. How do we incentivise people who go abroad to train to come back here?
“We have to prioritise those conditions that just allow people to just train here on the bank of the people and be able to pack their bags the minute they graduate and leave for other countries to practice.
“And it’s a two-way thing; those people make it easier for people to immigrate, we also make it extremely easy for people to emigrate.
“So, not only building capacities, figure out ways to create retention schemes that retain our doctors even after we train them.
“Also facilities, you ask us about specific numbers. It is hard for people to give you specific numbers when we do not prioritise things like research.
“In the U.S., they have publications every year that will tell you what the prevalence of hypertension is – stroke, cardiovascular conditions and things like that.
“We need to build up capacity of those that are on ground to do that. So, all of these cost money; we cannot do that on five per cent, two and a half per cent allocation of the budget.
“The WHO recommends that countries should invest at least 12, preferably 15 per cent. We need to make it easy for the private sector as well to invest in health.
“It will take all hands to be on deck to get this country to where we want it to be.“