July 12, 2022

Expert seeks govt intervention on migration of anesthetists



By Gabriel Olawale

A consultant anaesthetist, Major-Gen. (rtd) Obashina Ogunbiyi, has urged the federal and state governments to address the migration of anaesthetists and anaesthetic technicians from the country.

Ogunbiyi who made the passionate appeal during the first matriculation ceremony of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, School of Anaesthetic Technology, said that anaesthetists and anaesthetic technicians were critical to the provision of safe anaesthesia in the face of a challenging terrain typified by the dwindling economy.

He said that “poaching” by high-income-countries; chiefly Saudi Arabia had put a question mark on bridging the gap in the Nigerian anaesthesia workforce.

Delivering his keynote address titled: “Anaesthesia Workforce Development in Nigeria: Opportunities in a Challenging Terrain.” Ogunbiyi said that Nigeria has a low density of anaesthesia providers and allied workforce, compared to its population.

Ogunbiyi, the Medical Director, Life Centre, said that inadequate anaesthesia workforce would hinder access to safe surgery.

According to him, development of modern anaesthesia practice in many low-income countries like Nigeria had lagged behind that of high-income countries, despite early reports of accomplishments.

Corroborating his views, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, noted that there was a huge demand for professionals on account of existing gaps to cover the large population that needs their services.

He said the need to strengthen the number of anaesthetists nationwide informed LASUTH’s decision to establish the school.

Fabamwo noted: “We found out that there is a gap in the number of anaesthetic technicians available. So, LAUSTH management decided to set up a school to train anaesthetic technicians.

We have enough resources, personnel and equipment to train them. We have embarked on the journey and this is the first step of matriculating them so they can start their academic session well. 

“Anaesthetic technicians are to be trained to maintain and keep in good working order, the machines and equipment used to put patients to sleep and keep them alive in the intensive care unit and theatre to assist the anaesthetists to carry out their work effectively.”

On her part, the Director of School, Dr. Titilola wodesu, while congratulating the matriculating students, stated that they would be trained to know more about anaesthesia and anatomy, as well as physiology, pharmacology and engineering since their job entails arranging the theatre before surgical procedures besides repairs and maintenance of equipment and machines.