The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has again spoken about the Federal Government’s determination to find a lasting solution to the brain drain cycle that has troubled the health sector for so many years.
Dr Mamora made the revelation at the investiture of Professor Akinsanya Olayide Osibogun as the 22nd President of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.
Mamora said his ministry is confident that the Health Sector Reform Committee headed by Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo would come up with a clean report that would address challenges in the health sector.
He said: “The loss of many highly skilled professionals from our country to the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Australia, United Arab Emirate (UAE), South Africa and Saudi Arabia, among other countries, continues to receive the attention of government at federal and state levels. This situation has become a major challenge in the healthcare sector today. We must find a lasting solution to this challenge with a view to reversing the brain drain, developing sustainable skill transfer that will result in brain gain.”
The minister explained that his ministry would collaborate with the college on such key areas as special funding for the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria to accelerate training of specialists to deal with the current wave of brain drain and rapid deployment of simulation equipment and support for the proposed regional training centres to further strengthen residency training.
Mamora said the investiture of Osibogun as president marked a significant milestone in the life and development of the college, urging the newly elected president to continue to maintain the standard of the college in terms of training and research. He encouraged Osibogun to pursue the completion and use the simulation laboratories as a veritable tool in the training of resident doctors in Nigeria without delay. “It is also desirable that solutions are found to the emerging diseases as well as advancing new frontier in the management of communicable and non-communicable diseases in sub- Saharan Africa” Mamora said.
He appealed to the new leadership to create greater collaboration and linkages with sister colleges within Africa and beyond to widen the recognition-base of Fellows of the college within the global medical community.
Osibogun, in his inaugural speech, said the college would continue to seize opportunities to improve the quality of their products, as well as enhance the quality of its products and leverage on technology. He further said the college is investing in simulation training facilities and evaluation methodologies.
Osibogun, who noted that it cost $1.1m to train a doctor in the United States of America (USA), said to halt and reverse the obvious crisis caused by brain drain, the country must urgently expand production of more doctors and improve work conditions to retain them.
Prof Akin Osibogun graduated with MBBS from the College of Medicine University of Lagos in April 1980 and proceeded to the State Hospital, Ijaiye and Idi-Aba, Abeokuta for his mandatory housemanship. He served as the Medical Officer of Health for Ezza Local Government Area of the then Anambra State for his NYSC from 1981-1982. After a brief stint as a medical officer in private practice, he travelled out to the United States for his postgraduate training in Public Health at Columbia University in New York and got his Master of Public Health degree in 1984.
He then joined the Residency Training Programme at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital which resulted in his passing the Final (Part 2) Fellowship Examination of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in May 1989.
In 1990, he was appointed as a Lecturer/Consultant at the Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences of the Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University) where he served as the Coordinator of the Community-Based Medical Education and Services Programme of the College of Health Sciences, which position made him a member of the University Senate as well as a member of the College Advisory Council.
His focus as a Public Health Physician has been in Health Systems Development and Epidemiology. He chose to complete the examination of the West African College of Physicians and was awarded the Fellowship by examination in 1994.
In 1995, he relocated back to the College of Medicine University of Lagos as a Senior Lecturer and was appointed a Professor of Community Health in 2001. He has had the opportunity of serving on several of the College of Medicine’s Statutory Committees and served as Head of Department at different times between 2001 1nd 2006.
He has practical experience in the management of complex health systems and served as the Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital from October 11, 2006 till October 10, 2014.
He also served as Temporary Adviser and Short Term Consultant to the WHO Headquarters Division of Strengthening Health Systems in Geneva on various dates between 1993 and 2003. The gained practical experience is applied in his teaching of courses in Health Planning/Management, Health Policy and Health Care Financing.
At the National Postgraduate Medical College, among other services to the College, Prof Osibogun served as Associate Editor NPMJ, Faculty Secretary (Public Health), Third Senate Member, Member Docimology Committee, Chairman NPMCN 2nd National Scientific Conference 2006, Faculty Chair of Public Health and member of NPMCN Governing Board on various dates. He is the immediate past College Vice President and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Credential & Fellowship Awards.
He has had the opportunity of serving as External Examiner at various medical schools in Nigerian Universities including UNN, Enugu, Maiduguri, Benin, Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Ibadan, Ladoke Akintola, and Lagos State. He served on PhD Thesis Defence/Evaluation Panels at the Universities of Ibadan, Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and South Western Sydney (Australia).
Over the years he has conducted research in areas of health systems development and epidemiology with over 130 publications. He has supervised over 100 postgraduate theses to date.
He is a member of several professional bodies and NGOs including, the Nigerian Medical Association, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria; Royal Society for Public Health (UK); American Public Health Association; New York Academy of Science , the International Society for Infectious Diseases, The Nigerian Heart Foundation and the NCD Alliance Nigeria.
He has travelled extensively within Nigeria, Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. He is happily married with children.