June 22, 2009

Expert laments dearth of ENT doctors

By Emeka Mamah

KADUNA — The Medical Director of the National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna, Professor Babagana Ahmad, has lamented the dearth of Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctors in the country.

Ahmad said there were about 100 ENT doctors in the country, adding that the number is grossly inadequate for a country of over 140 million people.

He spoke during a media briefing on the forthcoming passing out of 256 diploma graduates of the centre and the commissioning ceremony by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Idi Hong.

According to Prof. Ahmad, for one to become an ENT doctor, he will spend additional six years of study after graduation as a general medical practitioner.

“In a country where it is easy for people to make money, it is not easy for people to spend so many years reading to become professionals.

“You spend six extra years of reading after graduation in general medicine to become an ENT doctor and doctors do not like to do this. That is why we are few.

“You will find out that even in the whole of South-West which is more advanced educationally, we have about 20 ENT doctors. This is why our patients complain that they spend so much time when they come here.

“We have about 14 doctors here and these are the people who teach the students, operate on patients in the theatre, do the consultation duties and see patients in the wards. The consultants are even fewer, only six of them,” he said.

The Ear Care Centre which was established in 1999 commenced operations in Lagos with temporal facilities provided by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for logistic reasons.

The centre later moved to Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital, Tudun Wada, Kaduna before relocating to its permanent site at the old Psychiatric Department of the Ahmadu Bello University Hospital (ABUTH), where it will be commissioned on Friday following the movement of ABUTH to Shika, near Zaria, Kaduna State.