By Gabriel Olawale
A Professor of Orthopaedics and Trauma, University of Calabar, Professor Obiora Onuba has raised the alarm over shortage of medical personnel and uneven distribution of the available few in the country.
Onuba said a situation whereby only one consultant orthopaedic surgeon looks after hundreds of Boko Haram bomb blast victims and children mistakenly struck by men of the Nigerian Air Force in Borno State remains worrisome.
Onuba who spoke at the 35th Convocation Ceremony of the National Postgraduate Medical College, NPMCN of Nigeria, said his recent visit to the area called for adequate staff and equipment at the tertiary care centres across the country.
“University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH was the major medical facility in Borno State with over 450 beds and one consultant orthopaedic surgeon.” He said the orthopaedic wards of the hospital were overflowing with patients who had bomb blast and bullet wounds among other conditions.
He explained that during his visit to the Military Hospital of 7 Division, Nigeria Airforce 60 kilometres out of the city, one officer was left looking after 300 patients.
“The Consultant, Lt. Col. Onuchukwu, was hard pressed, looking after 300 patients comprising people that sustained injury from mixed bomb, gunshot, accident and trauma victims.
Onuba called for training of medical personnel in extrication, triage and transport of bomb victims.
“Communication between disaster scene and local hospitals remains a big challenge in the country. A major omission both in foreign and local management to bomb victims is lack of psychosocial treatment of the victims and rehabilitation. All doctors should learn to recognize and meet the needs of blast victims
The College President, Prof. Ademola Olaitan said that the convocation of 387 Fellows makes it 5,773 since inception which was a worthy achievement for the College and further evidence that the College is capable and fulfilling the mandate for which it was established.
“With this number, the College has succeeded again this year as in other years in saving the nation millions of dollars and assisted in keeping needed medical manpower within the shores of the nation and in preventing human capital flight in the medical sector. He expressed pleasure in the College being first Postgraduate Medical College in Sub-Saharan Africa to subscribed to Computer Based Tests.
Olaitan enjoyed the convoking to make impacts on their family, community and the international environment.
Highlights of the event include, conferment of Honorary Fellowship on the Obi of Onitsha, His Highness, Alfred Achebe in recognition of his contribution to community and national development. Distinguished Fellowship Awards was conferred on former Provost, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Prof. Bababode Bojuwoye; Former Vice-President, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Prof. Dr. Obot Antia-Obong and Past President of the NPMCN, Prof. Rasheed Arogundade.