Emerging Diseases: West African College of Physicians in Enugu, chart way forward for Nigeria
About 3000 physicians from across the country are currently in Enugu State for the 47th Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the West African College of Physicians, Nigeria Chapter.
The meeting, DAILY POST learnt, would centre on building a resilient healthcare system in order to mitigate the challenges from emerging diseases.
Addressing journalists to herald the take-off of the meeting, the National Chairman and College Vice President, Nigeria, Prof. Jeremiah Madake, flanked by other top officials of the College, said most of the people who go abroad for medical tourism were treated overseas by Nigerians trained by the College.
He said the role of the College included to “determine persons qualified to be designated as physicians after due considerations of their qualifications and training.
“It also advises and assists governments of the West African region and other organizations like the West African Health Organization on matters relating to training, healthcare promotions and research in the sub-region.
“With this broad objective, the Nigerian Chapter every year, chooses a State where its over 3000 fellows meet to look at issues that bother on health of Nigeria and deliberate on those issues and make recommendations that can help government and other agencies involved in healthcare on how best to improve healthcare delivery.”
He said the theme of the meeting is: ‘Building a Resilient Health System through Addressing Emerging and Re-emerging Pandemics’.
“We all know about COVID-19, which is one of the pandemics that we have been battling with, and there are also emerging diseases coming up, the Marburg diseases, the lassa fever, to mention but a few.
“These are diseases whose cases have increased; unless you have a very resilient health system, you are likely going to have more deaths and more sufferings,” he further stated.
According to Madake, the meeting would look at emerging challenges in fragile and conflict areas, vaccine hesitancy and universal health coverage, as well as the brain-drain, stressing that “we will be looking at how to halt it and how to even reverse it.”
On brain-drain, he said it was generally an economic problem, an issue for government to handle, noting that “on our side, we have continued to train high quality physicians in all specialties of medicine and we have already reviewed in recent time, even our curriculum in a way that, internationally, Nigerian physicians trained by the College are in high demand.
“We are not lowering our standard, but we shall make recommendations to the government to see the need to address the economic aspect of why people are leaving.
“The competence of our physicians to address all manner of medical issues is there, but one thing is to have the competence, another is to have the tools, which is what the government provides.
“When people go abroad for treatment, most of them are treated by doctors trained by us; that is because the tools are there.”
“That is why we are appealing to the government to put the tools in the hospitals because we have already trained people with competences.
“The recent example is that of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the people we trained had the competency to deliver,” he said, recalling that during the COVID-19 lockdown, everyone, irrespective of class, was treated within the country.
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