As CMUL inducts 51

Brain Drain: Less than 4,000 physiotherapists in Nigeria

By Chioma Obinna

Despite rising cases of stroke and other aging-related diseases, less than 4,000 physiotherapists are serving 200 million Nigerians.

This is coming as the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, CMUL, inducts 51 physiotherapy graduands with a charge for medical professionals to change the narrative in Nigeria’s health sector to end brain drain.

Speaking during the induction/award ceremony for graduating students of the department of physiotherapy, the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Afolabi Lesi, stressed the need for Nigeria to invest more resources in the health sector to improve services.

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“Nigeria needs each and every one of us as medical practitioners because the country has invested in our training. We owe the next generation of Nigerians a duty to render our services, though the environment will never be perfect, nobody will come from abroad to fix Nigeria for us. It is us, Nigerians, that will fix Nigeria; Nigerians must feel that they have a stake in this country,” he said.

To stem the brain drain, he called for an enabling environment for the medical profession to encourage Nigerians abroad to come back home.

A Senior Lecturer in the Physiotherapy Department, CMUL, Dr. Chris Okafor explained that out of the 4,000 physiotherapists in Nigeria, less than 3,000 are practising in the country.

“We need to produce more physiotherapists and at the same time, we need improvement in the economy because a lot of people travelled because of the harsh economy.  If we can produce up to 50,000 though it is not enough it can go a long way to cushion the effect. If you want to talk about the actual number that we need, you will be talking about 200, 000 to 200 million Nigerians.

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“The WHO recommends an average of 2,000 population to a physiotherapist if you extrapolate that you will know that what we have in the country is not anywhere near what we need currently,”  Okafor noted that 12 universities in Nigeria are now training physiotherapists compared to four in the past.

The Registrar, Medical Rehabilitation Therapist Registration Board, MRTB, Dr. Akanle, Olufunke urged the graduands  to be the best by thirsting for more knowledge and selflessness in their service delivery.

“I advise, study more, as though your success solely depends on it. Avail yourself the opportunities of attending or participating in the Board’s accredited CPD courses, as well as higher degree learning endeavours, very soon we will all be advancing into the Doctor of Physiotherapy as recently approved by National University Council.”

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