By Emmanuel  Elebeke
Healthcare professionals in West African sub-region have been called upon to work together in the area of medical education, research and healthcare  to enable Africa achieve  self sufficiency in healthcare delivery system.

The call was jointly made by both local and foreign health professionals who spoke at a one day annual sci0entific/international conference and annual general meeting  organized by the Lagos University Medical Society (LUMS) in Lagos

.In his welcome address, the President of Lagos University Medical Society (LUMS), Dr. Chikodi Anigbogu said  that the conference was significant because it was the first time that the union was creating a frame-work for international collaboration on critical health matters in West African sub-region.

With the theme: “International Collaboration in medical Education, Research and Health Care in the West African Sub-Region,” Dr. Anigbogu said the event  was designed to address some critical issues relating to health care delivery among all the sub- specialties of health sector in African sub-region. He also said that the annual programmes was  meant to provide a platform for stakeholders in the industry to cross fertilize ideas with their counterpart across the boarder, transfer  knowledge and also promote local expertise for the attainment of self sustainability.

Giving the current trends and the peculiar handicaps facing the sub -region and Africa in general which include: ignorance and poverty; high disease burden, inadequate number of health care personnel; lack of qualified manpower; inadequate basic medical infrastructure; high cost of accessing healthcare and lopsided distribution of available manpower and resources, as well as inadequate facilities for teaching and research, the union president said the theme was timely and important to Health professionals in West African Sub-region.

In line with this, he said  LUMS had been  promoting  interaction between various medical disciplines and health care professionals, with the college of medical and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital to engender cross disciplinary understanding, learning, cooperation and synergy in education and service delivery, for which it was established 25 years ago.

These objectives according to him,  had been pursued by LUMS through public lectures, workshops, seminars, symposia and conferences as well as publication of high quality academic research journals.

His words “Having matured as the foremost medical society in the nation and sub region, we have decided to reach out to our neighbors, since we accept that  disease knows no boundaries, and many of our healthcare challenges extend over national borders.

It becomes reasonable therefore that we should cooperate and collaborate with our colleagues in other countries so as to take advantage of our individual and group strength to build a healthier society,” he said

Continuing, he said  “Our building of a virile economic and dynamic society is based on the health and quality of life of our peoples. The benefits of a healthy population cannot be easily quantified, hence the need for cross border collaboration among all health professionals.” He explained.

In his  presentation, professor Ajoseke Seffah of University of Ghana , who represented the guest speaker at the event, Professor Lambert Lawson emphasized the importance of collaboration among health care professionals within the sub-continent, saying that West Africa and African professionals in the healthcare sector  cannot work alone, without the inputs from their foreign counterparts, particularly in the area of knowledge exchange, particularly in the area of exchange of  students and expertise.

He urged African health professionals not to hide their problems from their foreign counterparts, but be confident in sharing them through effective collaboration and cross fertilization of ideas, research  and expertise.

It is by this way, he said Africa can achieve self sufficiency in the provision of quality and affordable healthcare delivery to its people.

According to him, it is not just enough to have political independence as a nation, but said that  collaboration had become inevitable in the face of prevailing health challenges facing the continent.

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