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May 23, 2024

Japa: We’ll reabsorb health experts that return – FG

Japa: We’ll reabsorb health experts that return – FG
By Joseph Erunke

The federal government has assured that health experts who return to Nigeria after migrating abroad for greener pastures, would be seamlessly reabsorbed.

However, the government tasked medical practitioners to be more patriotic to their country by shunning migration.

This came as the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria,MLSCN,inducted a total of 396 foreign trained medical laboratory science graduates into the profession.

Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa spoke in his remark at the 11th Induction and Oath-taking Ceremony of foreign graduates of Medical Laboratory Science by MLSCN, in Abuja.

Alausa tasked health practitioners to be patriotic about their country, insisting that “all hands must be on deck to ensure a better narrative and outcome for the health sector. “

He said, “The exodus of health professionals in search of so-called greener pastures has led to a significant shortage of personnel required for the growth of the health sector.

“Based on recent data, we have about 300,000 health professionals attending to the healthcare needs of over 200 million people.

“This is grossly inadequate and puts enormous pressure on the available workforce. Thus, in conjunction with the relevant stakeholders, including MLSCN, the federal government is taking the necessary steps to improve and stabilize the health sector. This is includes ensuring that experts willing to return to the country are seamlessly reabsorbed. “

The minister, who was represented at the event by his Senior Technical Assistant, Dr Obi Ugbo, commended the MLSCN for constantly engaging with the Federal Ministry of Health for the “necessary paradigm shift in the health sector.”

“I also commend you for actualizing the part of your statutory mandate, which requires you to determine from time to time the standard of knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to become medical laboratory scientists. Policies do not drive themselves, but require the political will of those concerned for effective implementation.

“The induction of foreign graduates of Medical Laboratory Science is a crucial step in the efforts of the government to ramp up the training and recruitment of competent, skilled, and versatile manpower for the health sector. It is more gratifying that you do not merely induct new entrants into your profession because they trained abroad, but rightly subject them to a re-training program and subsequent examinations in-country.

“The process is line with international best practices. Even other more advanced health systems subject those who trained abroad to new rigorous learning experiences and their being licensed to practice is subject to their passing the prescribed examinations. That process of familiarization, adaptation and integration is necessary for the smooth running of the health system and to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the patients.

“Suffice it to say that the federal government is in a hurry to reposition the health sector to bring it at par with its peers in other countries, especially those we often seek to benchmark.

“The narrative that we spend over $2 billion out of our meagre foreign reserves on health tourism is neither acceptable nor sustainable.

“Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure a better narrative and outcome for the health sector.

“Furthermore, the exodus of health professionals in search of so-called greener pastures has led to a significant shortage of personnel required for the growth of the health sector.

“Based on recent data, we have about 300,000 health professionals attending to the healthcare needs of over 200 million people.

“This is grossly inadequate and puts enormous pressure on the available workforce. Thus, in conjunction with the relevant stakeholders, including MLSCN, the federal government is taking the necessary steps to improve and stabilize the health sector. This is includes ensuring that ex pats willing to return to the country are seamlessly reabsorbed.

“In that regard, I am pleased that you are about to induct 396 young medical laboratory science graduates into the profession. While the number may not be adequate to fill the existing gaps, I encourage the inductees to be ready to contribute their quota toward repositioning the health sector. As young Nigerians in whose hands the future of the health sector lies, you must imbibe the spirit of patriotism and always place the interest of the patients above material gains.

“There is no gainsaying that MLSCN is one of the vibrant, and creative agencies in the health sector. The Leadership is always initiating new ways of overcoming existing challenges. Such commitment, hard work, creativity and foresight are the hallmark of a world-acclaimed regulatory agency as you wish to become. I have been told that you have digitalized virtually all your processes, including those for the registration of laboratories, as well as licensing. I commend and encourage to keep up the good work. These inductees, I believe, would be pleased to subsequently connect with MLSCN from the comfort of their home or workplace.

“While assuring you and other health regulatory agencies of the continued support of the federal government to enable you to succeed, I urge you to align their policies and processes with the expectations of the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu. With the right commitment and resolve, there can be no insurmountable challenges under the current regime. It is our duty to explore the linkage between our desires for a better society and our actions and their implications for the society. Mere intentions however noble will not lead to change. “

On his part,the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria,Prof. Tosan Erhabor, explained that the ceremony underscores the council’s desire to foster excellence and professionalism in the noble profession of Medical Laboratory Science.

He reiterated the council’s previous plea to the Federal Ministry of Health to establish a centralized pool for the internship posting of fresh Medical Laboratory Scientists, explaining that such would “undoubtedly reduce the current challenges faced by fresh graduates, who are forced to comb the streets in search of internship slots. “

While expressing his respect and admiration for the inductees’ parents and guardians “for bearing with equanimity the brunt of the inductees’ training, both overseas and in-country,Prof. Tosan Erhabor noted that such “sacrifices may seem natural and, therefore, taken for granted, but as every parent can attest, the current challenges facing all and sundry have made the parents’ tasks more cumbersome.”

“I hope and pray these inductees would in time reciprocate the efforts by going out there and making their parents proud,”he tasked.

While also congratulating the 395 inductees presented for the occasion,Prof. Erhabor told the inductees that the recognition they received was an indication that they have successfully undergone the rigorous training aimed at preparing them for the onerous task ahead.

“As you savour the pomp and pageantry of this occasion, please also keep in mind its essence. Act 11 of 2003 mandates MLSCN to determine periodically the level of competence to be attained by persons seeking to become Medical Laboratory Scientists. This is a sacred duty, which MLSCN continues to discharge without fear or favour.

“In our quest to deliver on the above mandate, the Council had to review the process of admitting into the profession those, who trained outside the country’s shores. The review revealed gaps in training arising from cultural orientation, infrastructure, equipment, as well as processes to which those, who trained in-country were accustomed. As a responsible regulator, MLSCN moved to bridge the gaps by introducing the re-training program to familiarise those affected with the reality of the health laboratory system here. Today, we are recognising the 11th batch of those re-trained, thus vindicating the policy framework deployed for the purpose.

” It may interest you to note that these inductees are products of various institutions across the world, re-trained atthe various training centres approved and supervised by MLSCN across the geo-political zones of the country. I salute the courage and commitment of the centre coordinators, who have continued to justify the confidence we reposed in them as partners in progress. Driven by their love for the profession, they have continued to exemplify MLSCN’s penchant for quality, safety and sustainability within the profession,”he added.

He spoke further:”As for the inductees; while commending you for doing well in the requisite MLSCN-approved examinations, let me also sound a note of warning to you. You must brace up for professional practice with the huge responsibilities, expectations, and intense scrutiny that now define the terrain. The citizens are more informed and demanding as they are aware of the quality of healthcare available to their counterparts in other countries. The days of mediocrity are well and truly over.

“However, you must be mindful that MLSCN has zero-tolerance for unethical conducts, and your individual circumstances would not vitiate the ethics of the profession. You are to avoid situations that could tempt you to compromise the ethics of the profession or be ready to face the consequences directly or vicariously. Fortunately, those who are ready to practice in accordance with the guidelines can look forward to a rewarding career.

“We implore the Federal Ministry of Health to take note of the imperative to open up the employment space to absorb these and other young health professionals.”

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