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FG to provide special funding, others for NPMCN, to accelerate training of specialist doctors

The Federal Government has pledged to provide special funding for the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) to accelerate the training of more specialists

[FILES] Medical practitioners. PHOTO: Getty Images

The Federal Government has pledged to provide special funding for the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) to accelerate the training of more specialists to deal with the current wave of brain drain while improving the work climate through the provision of additional incentives and welfare packages.

The Minister of State for Health, Joseph Ekumankama, made the pledge at the 40th Convocation Ceremony of the College in Lagos.

The convocation witnessed the award of 416 Fellowships by examination from 16 Faculties of the College, 61 Postgraduate MD degrees and 17 Postgraduate Diplomas in Anaesthesia.

In addition, Honorary Fellowship was conferred on the founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola while 3 Distinguished Fellowship Awards were conferred on the immediate past President of the college, Dr M. M. Borodo, immediate past Registrar, Dr Owoidoho Udofia, Immediate Past College Registrar and past Treasurer, Augustine Ohwovoriole.

The minister, represented by Director General, Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Lawal Salako, said the ministry would provide access to funding for the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) of the college to further support infrastructural development and research.

Other areas include assistance with Endowment Fund for simulation equipment and building in the college, improved funding in the 2023 Budget and subsequent years for the full implementation of Medical Residency Training, and the creation and expansion of college offices and simulation centres in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, among others.

Ekumankama said the college, as the flagship of postgraduate medical education in Nigeria, continuous performance improvement is of the essence to meet the desired objectives of the Federal Government in health care.

He promised to continue supporting the college in the discharge of its mandate.

The college President, Prof. Akin Osibogun, in his address, said currently, the institution has 8,453 resident doctors, in various federal accredited training centres who are at different levels of training, in addition to 1,500 in accredited state and private centres.

He, however, noted that after factoring in the average duration of the training, they realise that they need to train more for the country.

According to him, the brain drain in the sector has resulted in a decline in the number of candidates applying for the college fellowship examinations, affecting the availability of medical specialist manpower as well as medical teachers in the country.

“If we don’t address the problem urgently, it may create a spiral in which the inadequate manpower will be compounded. We need to put in place mechanisms to train more and retain trained manpower through improved work climate and conditions of service including financial and non-financial incentives,” Osibogun said.

The president also called on TETFUND to recognise the volume and quality of health research ongoing in the college and national interest to fund the institution and researchers under its programme.

Delivering the convocation lecture with the theme, ‘Unlocking the shackles that restrain major advances in medicine, science and technology in Nigeria’, Professor of Radiology, Prof Funsho Komolafe, acknowledged that the products of the college training programmes are making a tremendous impact on healthcare delivery in Nigeria and abroad, but are limited by the country’s suboptimal infrastructure.