South-West: DAWN moves to stem doctors’ exodus effects

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The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria has come up with a blueprint that it says will stop the effects of the exodus of medical personnel on the health of the residents of the six states in the South-West.

The Director General of DAWN, Mr Seye Oyeleye, disclosed this while speaking with journalists on Tuesday at the sidelines of the presentation of the blueprint during a regional health roundtable at Cocoa House, Ibadan, Oyo State.

He said the blueprint seeks liberalisation of medical training so that more medical personnel could be produced to cater to the growing population in the region.

A former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; other renowned medical practitioners and commissioners for health for the states were in attendance at the roundtable.

He said the blueprint made a room for collaboration of the private sector in the provision of training of personnel and offering quality health services because they realized that the government alone could not shoulder the responsibility.

The DAWN DG said, “Part of the things that informed us to have a blueprint in the health system for Western Nigeria, is actual the brain drain in the medical field.

“A section of the blueprint talks about access to medical training and that it has to be liberalised. The reason for this is so that we can produce more medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others. Due to the growing population, we need to produce a lot more than we are producing now.

“Unfortunately, it will be hard to stop people from going abroad but without dropping the quality, medical training needs to be revamped in other to produce more so that those that will go will go and the blueprint will provide for those who want to stay by ensuring that the facilities are there and remuneration is good. There are teaching hospitals in the South-West with very high standards and Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital is there, people are saying it is one of the best not only in Nigeria but the whole of West Africa.

“Where the facilities can be provided and the remuneration is good, more medical personnel will stay. We want the South-West to set the standards and the blueprint makes room for private sector involvement because we don’t want to wait for the government alone.

“Our incomes have dwindled and our population is exploding, we need to strike a balance so that we can work with the private sector to give us a virile health system. The blueprint will be inaugurated officially by the six governors when It is fully ready. It will interest you that the Federal Government is interested in this blueprint for Western Nigeria. They have told us that they want to see it when it is ready.

“We can safely say now that this is the first health blueprint in Nigeria. Prof. Adewole gathered his great colleagues together to work on this.”

The former minister said one of the things the document sought to eliminate out-of-pocket payment for healthcare services.

Adewole said, “Health is actually an indicator of socio-economic development; where you are developed, the health of your people is important. So, what we want to do is to showcase health as a proxy indicator for development in South-Western Nigeria and we say that we can be the leader.

“We want to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses and that is why we are looking at the health insurance option. We want to eliminate forgone care where people who have no money will simply give up. Money now will no longer be a consideration, that is part of the strategy. We want health to be accessible, affordable and of quality.”

The Osun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, also told our correspondent that he believed there was the needed political will among the South-West governor to drive the project to succeed.


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