January 10, 2023

Japa syndrome: 150 nurses left LASUTH in 3 years – CMD

NLC laments increasing exposure of nurses to COVID-19

File: Nurses (Note; this image was used to illustrate the story)

… Says it is difficult to get quality replacement

… Adds: Hospital repositioning to reduce medical tourism

By Chioma Obinna

Management of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH on Tuesday said the hospital lost about 150 nurses to Japa syndrome in three years even as it maintained that the hospital has been repositioned to reduce medical tourism.

At a press briefing tagged: “First briefing of the Chief Medical Director on the Highlights of LASUTH’s achievement from January till date”, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, said the mass resignation was due to the migration of health workers overseas, adding that the hospital’s exit replacement policy of the state government had ensured that the hospital is not affected heavily.

He, however, regretted that in recent times, applications for positions of nurses and resident doctors had reduced in the hospital.

Fabanwo said the situation has led to the recruitment of what he described as ‘double qualified’ nurses and the engagement of some retired nurses on a contract basis to bridge the gaps.

“In LASUTH, we used to have more than 1, 000 nurses and during the last calculation, we found out that we have lost more than 150 nurses to the Japa syndrome and they are still migrating.

“The applications have also reduced even if for instance we say we were looking for graduate nurses, we will not get the number we lost to fill those positions so what we have done recently is not to insist on recruiting graduate nurses but double qualified nurses.”

“Nursing Services Department is now disaggregated into four new units comprising Clinical Services, Training & Research, Monitoring crew and Administration, as part of the efforts to keep upgrading the hospital’s services in terms of functionality and excellent service delivery.”

As part of efforts to reduce medical tourism, Fabamwo who noted that many departments have been upgraded to offer tertiary services disclosed that the hospital now does more open heart surgeries locally without collaborations from external bodies and that in the last month, a total of six open heart surgeries have been done.

Speaking, on bed space management, he said that the e hospital was using a team of nurses called a ‘monitoring crew’ to ensure speedy transfers of stable patients from emergency units.

He said the new strategy has created spaces for incoming patients.

Fabamwo said the ongoing construction of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, building in the premises with a 120-bed capacity was at a 90 per cent completion level.

“The SDGs building would alleviate the issue of bed space constriction, enhance critical care services in the hospital and assist to reduce medical tourism in the state and country.”

He further disclosed that the hospital was also working on the expansion of its Surgical Emergency Unit, Psychiatric Unit and Resident Doctors’ quarters.

He said the policies and infrastructure development were to improve healthcare services and patients’ experience at the hospital.

Speaking on the alleged sale of COVID-19 vaccination cards by one Mr Solomon Oriere, he described him as an impostor who does not work in LASUTH.

He said Mr Oriere had been arrested and was presently in police custody.

He said the public would be kept abreast of the findings of the investigation.

Continuing, the CMD said LASUTH has acquired a C-ARM Machine to replace the old one that has been inoperative and hampering efficient theatre utilisation.

He also stated that in 2022, the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu approved for employment, of a total of 871 personnel for special dispensation and exit replacement.

On challenges facing the hospital, he listed power supply issues, attrition of health workers, security issues, unwholesome practices among members of staff and bed space as major difficulties facing the hospital.