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Govt must prioritise postgraduate medical training – Olusegun Odukoya

About 30 years ago, EKO Hospitals Group was fully accredited for the postgraduate fellowship training in family medicine. Early this year, it obtained a two year accreditation for postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In this interview, the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Mr. Olusegun Odukoya, a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, speaks to Chioma Obinna on the impact of post-graduate training to healthcare delivery. Excerpts:

Postgraduate training at EKO Hospital

The National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and West African College of Physicians in 1985 gave full accreditation to the hospital for postgraduate fellowship training programme in family medicine. The first resident doctor in the faculty of family medicine was accepted in 1986 and the first Fellows graduated in November 1991. Today, a total of total 15 Fellows in this specialty have been produced and currently there are 16 residents at different stages of their postgraduate training.

To further boost the training programme and provide the much needed specialist in the country, the hospital in 2014 applied for post graduate training accreditation of the faculty of obstetrics and gynaecology. After inspecting the available facilities and precisely, on 27th January, 2015, a partial accreditation that enables her begins postgraduate residency training was granted through a letter signed by the college registrar. We were also given six doctors to train, four junior doctors and two senior doctors.

Training facilities available
We have enough consultants who are full time in obstetrics and gynaecology and we have adequate numbers of nurses and our work in obstetrics and gynaecology is cutting edge. We have facilities like the oncology department which supports the treatment of cancer and Invitro -fertilisation which is part of training of the senior doctors.

Any organisation that embarks on training of postgraduate doctors must be at cutting edge service provision, research and training. This is because if your candidates go for exams and they do not meet up, they will fail. We have been doing very well. We also offer internship in general medicine, in pharmacy, radiography, physiotherapy and dietician. We have variety of training programmes in various departments in the delivery of healthcare.

Benefit of training
Supporting the postgraduate medical programme is of paramount importance and the hospital will continue to do so because it enhances the quality of service delivery which goes a long way in ensuring that hospital mission statement of delivering excellent medical services is achieved. We also see it as contributing to the training of specialists in various departments so that the quality of care provided to the public is improved. Therefore we see it as contributing our own quota to the development of healthcare in the country by producing specialists that are of standard and up to date and can compete anywhere in world. We have endowed ourselves with healthcare providers trained to such a level that will improve the quality of service.

Funding and medical equipment
The incoming government has to take the lead in funding and ensuring that there are facilities in post graduate training. We do not have any subvention from government but it will be appropriate for the government to look into it and help as most of the doctors we train go back to work in the government owned hospitals.

For instance, what the government of India did was to bring the importation of any medical equipment to 3 percent. Indian government dropped it dramatically and that is why they were able to bring in modern equipment in their country. People are now rushing to the place which is wrong. Today, if I bring in medical equipment, I am going to pay a huge amount to Customs. Why can’t government bring it down to either zero or minimal digit level?

I can tell you that we have about N150 billion of educational fund where is it going? This is part of what can be channeled into training our specialists and the people that will be delivering the healthcare we deserve in the country.

Brain drain
Medicine is like any other profession. However, when you look at it in general, the commonality in the environment is that there is no job satisfaction. If I provide wonderful services and I go home there is no electricity, no security, even though I am happy where I am working but what is happening in my environment is going to affect my decision making process. Individuals will have to decide based on the totality of their environment. It is unfortunate that this is happening in our country. It is unfortunate, that we don’t have a government that thinks about the people. It is also unfortunate you cannot tie down anybody to work for your organisation. What you can do is to make your organisation friendly to your employees but there are other things surrounding them that will determine their choice or decision.

Charge for incoming government
My advice to the incoming government is that it should look at the manufacturing base. Where do we want to be in the next 20, 50 and 100 years?
They should have a long term plan rather than a short term plan. What we have been having is short term plan. There should be continuity in implementation of ideas. The President- elect has promised he is going to use technocrats and people who know what they are doing. We expect him to put the right pegs in the right holes.


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