The National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, NPMCN on Tuesday decried the acute shortage of medical doctors to train due to brain drain, popularly known as ‘Japa Syndrome’.
The College also announced the convocation of over 500 postgraduate doctors billed to be held on September 21, 2023.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, the College President, Prof. Akin Osibogun, said that they have produced about 80,500 specialists for the country, adding that the college modulates and accepts fellows trained by sister colleges such as West African College of Physicians and West Africa College of Surgeon.
Osibogun said: “In the convocation, we would be convocating 413 new fellows and 92 doctors of medicine. We would have over 500 postgraduate doctors convocating on Thursday.
“The main challenge we are facing now is that we do not have enough people to train because as doctors graduate, the Japa syndrome is affecting them, what is generally referred to as brain drain in the country. In order to address that problem, we need to train more and retain more.
“There are two legs to it, we need to ramp up our training processes and we also need to put in place, largely on the side of government, the mechanism to ensure skilled manpower remains in the country. There are several ways in which the government can do that. At our last conference, we proffered some solutions as to how we can retain trained manpower through financial and non-financial incentives.
“We definitely need to incentivise them, some of our sister countries in West Africa are encroaching on our medical manpower because we are offering higher pay to these doctors. We have 11 thousand Nigerian doctors in the UK and 12 thousand in the US; we have about 30 to 40 thousand Nigerian doctors in different parts of the world. We need to retain them.
“The NPMCN was established by law, by an act of parliament and it is the body responsible for producing postgraduate medical doctors for Nigeria. The college is saving the country a lot of resources by training specialists in the country.
“In addition to the economic benefits, the specialists produced in the country are more contextually relevant to the health problems of Nigerians because we train them in the country; therefore they are more attuned to the health problems of Nigerians. Presently we have about 10,000 resident doctors in training in different parts of the country in accredited training institutions scattered all over the country,” he said.