As Nordica Foundation launches free mentorship programme
By Sola Ogundipe
A group of professionals including the Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, and Nigeria’s first female Minister of Industry and former President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Nike Akande (CON), are mentoring young Nigerian doctors and emerging physicians towards stemming brain drain in the country.
They are part of an 8-member group of mentors in a newly launched free Physicians Mentoring Programme designed to retain and support young Nigerian doctors and emerging physicians in the formative years of their careers.
Other mentors of the 12-month programme are the Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof.Prof Ebunoluwa Adejuyigbe; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof Bomi Ogedengbe; Director General & Chairman, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Abuja, Prof Adedeji Adekunle; the Managing Director /CEO, Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers Ltd., Lagos, Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye, and the Founder/CEO, Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi.
The pilot phase of the free 12-month programme that is being run in partnership with Nordica Foundation has kicked off with provision for 12 participants and will run from November to October the following year.
Explaining the purpose of the programme, Ajayi said it is meant to provide a forum for young medical professionals or aspiring medical leaders with less than five years of post-qualification or industry-specific entrepreneurship experience to develop an on-going relationship by meeting regularly and discussing matters relating to career development and advancement within an organised and supportive framework.
“The programme was developed in recognition of the need to enhance the career growth of young physicians and improve transformative leadership in the medical profession. It is intended to facilitate interaction between mentors and mentees and to enable them to explore the great opportunities created when two personalities are paired.
“We need young professionals to know that there is a future for this country. In Nigeria opportunities are available and you can decide what you want to be but you just have to persevere. That is the message we want to give out.”
Noting that Nigeria has about 40,000 medical doctors more than half of which are abroad, Ajayi said the primary message to young doctors is that they need to discover themselves first in order to thrive.
“We want to shine light in the darkness. Some of these doctors just need a word or two to stay back, and we are ready to guide them. We want those who will participate to be grounded. Sometimes young people only need someone who can guide and advise them.”
According to one of the mentors, Prof Bomi Ogedengbe, the main reason young doctors are leaving Nigeria is frustration. She argued that if the young physicians have people to talk to them and to assist them, there is hope.
“As of now, doctors are flying out of the country and unfortunately for Nigeria, the situation in the UK with Brexit is beneficial to them. Britain has thrown its doors wide open. I know this for a fact because we do accreditation of institutions in Nigeria and as we go there they are complaining that the doctors are leaving en masse.
“So there is going to be a big crisis in the near future and this can be stemmed partly by this initiative which is timely. If they can get someone to talk to them, to empathise with them and to know that someone is there for them, and to assist them, and they can be convinced to stay it may help in stemming this tide.
“I’m pleased about the calibre of the mentors who are not all doctors, in fact just two are doctors, they can be advised in all aspects so they can have a holistic outlook to life and if that is it, we can help to prevent the exodus that is happening.”
Also speaking, another mentor, Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye, said it is important as a professional to have a mentor.
“We all need mentors for different reasons. Even women need successful married women to keep their homes. I’m a product of mentorship and it was deliberate on my part. I was mentored by Dr. (Mrs) Nike Akande, Mrs. Eniola Fadayomi and Mrs. Maiden Ibru for different reasons.
One was in terms of managerial and leadership development, another for my core insurance profession and the third in terms of how to be seen and perceived in Society.
“You will never walk alone with a mentor. They are people that you can run to regularly, have meetings with them and set your goals together in the short and long term. They have all gone through the same stage and most times are have passed through what you are about to pass through and they have knowledge in this area to enable you to go through the same with little or no challenge,” Babington-Ashaye asserted.