More than 500 personnel of the National Hospital, Abuja (NHA), left its services in search of greener pastures in the last two years, its Chief Medical Director, Prof. Mahmud Raji, has disclosed.
Raji told The Tide’s source yesterday in Abuja that most of them went abroad in search of better working conditions.
“The way they leave is a very hurtful thing for all hospital administrators.
“The most pitiful and worrisome aspect of it is the amount of money the Nigerian government has invested into each of these individuals either a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, a physiotherapist or whoever it is that leaves.
He said that the brain drain syndrome was an almost every day activity as he treats two or three files of young people wishing to leave.
“Sometimes, not only young people; some people have actually gone through the ranks with lots of experience that they could teach other people. So, Nigeria is losing so much, painfully.
“Here, we have lost a number of quite senior doctors, especially the middle cadre doctors, and the very young ones.
“Nurses have also left from the middle cadre and the younger ones. Some of our medical engineers are hotcakes outside and have left.
“I must tell you, Nigeria trains people so much, Nigerian graduates and staff are well sought after, all over,” he added.
On reasons for their departure, he said that remuneration and job satisfaction had always topped the list.
“For instance, if a doctor or a nurse comes here, he or she needs to see an environment that is quite serene, quite beautiful, even to rest in a very comfortable area during their one hour break.
“At least you are able to have something to eat, replenish your energy before you go back to the next phase of work, but usually, in our hospitals in Nigeria, we don’t have such.
“In terms of the remuneration, it may not be as good as what you would expect elsewhere. Even though I must say the purchasing power in Nigeria is far better than the purchasing power elsewhere and our money is still able to buy something.
“We should also look at the unsolved problem of inter-professional rivalry that also eats into people’s psyche. People should be comfortable with the next person they’re working with, be it a nurse, a physiotherapist or whoever.”
Raji also said that the necessary equipment needed to work were not there and when these equipment are either non-existent or obsolete, the healthcare practitioners feel that more should have been done.
He, however, said that past governments had tried by taking very decisive stance on matters of health.
The current government has also put in a lot to rejig the health sector, he added.
“From what we can all see, the current administration has actually rekindled that hope in us that in the next couple of months, at couple of years, we will be able to see a change or a shift in this mindset among Nigerian health professionals eager to leave the country.
“Hopefully, we should even be able to attract them to come back while we retain the ones that are here.”
He, however, said that NHA had employed various strategies to try to retain the healthcare personnel working in it.
“I may not be able to change their remuneration since this is within the purview of government, we try to pacify them because remuneration is usually the first thing people complain about.
“Secondly, in terms of welfare, at least we have tried as much as possible to relieve some of them.
“We have established cooperatives to assist staff, either financially or in whichever way they can be supported to get mortgages for their homes and other things.
“On our own, we sometimes get these mortgage organisations to come and assist our staff. We have been able to get some buses to relieve the stress that the staff get in conveying themselves from work back home and from home to work.
“We are trying to also make the environment where they work a bit more serene and accommodating for them. This would require a lot of funding, but at least with the little that we are able to get, we are able to do bit by bit.”
In terms of training, he said that since training out of the country may be expensive, the hospital arranges local trainings and, when it is able to, it supports them to go for trainings within the country and sometimes out of the country as the funds allow.
The CMD said the hospital was also trying to fix the equipment that were not working efficiently or not working at all.
“Through budgetary and intervention pathways, we are also trying to get in some more new equipment that will make them happy while doing their jobs.
“When you go to our laboratories now, you will see that they are not as they used to be.
“We have so many automated machines; with these machines, all you need to do is just to put in samples and then the thing runs by itself, unlike earlier on where a person will have to run this, after this, you do that. So, now, they have it a bit easier.
“They also feel like, yes, we are working where we would wish to have flown to, to work. So we are upgrading our laboratories or rather, to a very large extent, we are comfortable to call them automated laboratories.
“That’s what we are trying to do, at least in our own little ways, to make life better and the good thing is, some of them do appreciate it.
“But, however much you try, some people are already fixated on leaving,” he said.
On the issue of inter-professional rivalry in the healthcare profession, he said that even though it exists in other institutions, at NHA, there has been some sort of a very harmonious relationship.
He added that hardly were there local strikes at NHA in the last couple of years because of that harmonious relationship.
“But the staff is not in isolation as they also mingle with other people outside.
“So, once in a while you would hear such complaints, but then some of these issues are actually realistic that you find in other centres and it can really be quite bad.
“It sometimes affects the function of some of such organisations but we are lucky here that we are able to, at least, control it.”
To put an end to it or at least control it, he said that several attempts were made to resolve the problem, but sometimes when solutions were about coming, some other bodies may lobby to stop it.
He recalled that a couple of years ago, a certain committee was set up by the Federal Government to look into it and the committee made some recommendations.
“I am not sure those recommendations have been fully implemented, but things might probably have changed now such that it’s time to probably have a new committee set up to look into this.
“I assure you that with the current administration and the mandate given by the president to resolve the issues in healthcare and the ministers we have running the ministry, people have the confidence that they have the roadmap to solving this problem.
“We have to look at it holistically such that you don’t just see doctors as a group, solve their problem, but while solving their problem you will have problem of nurses.
“So also, when you call the nurses and solve their problem, you cause a problem for the radiologist or the pharmacist and things like that.
“From the feelers we’re having from our interactions with those of our leaders in the ministry now, they’re likely going to look at it in that holistic manner, where it should be a win-win for all facets of healthcare.”
Cost Of Living: Lagos Civil Servants To Work Three Days A Week …As Sanwo-Olu Announces 25% Discount On Public Transportation
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, announced a reduction of working days for State public servants as part of plans to cushion the cost of living crisis in the country.
Sanwo-Olu made the announcement in Lagos during the ongoing media parley on economic hardship in the country
“We want to start with our public servants, immediately from next week, Civil servants from the lower level will be working like three times a week and level 15-17 can work four times in a week,” he said.
On the rising cost of food, he said that his administration would open more markets where Lagosians can buy food items at discounted rates.
“We will open Sunday markets in at least 42 identified markets across Lagos State. You will be able to buy food items at a discounted price. You will only be able to buy items worth up to N25,000,” the governor said.
He said his administration was also constructing four food hubs to ensure food distribution in tackling rising food prices.
“Coupled with the one at Idi-Oro in Mushin, four more food hubs are under construction and seven other locations in other local governments have also been identified for more food hubs to be developed,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu has said that the state will resume a 25% reduction on public transportation in the state.
“Almost immediately from this weekend, we’re throwing back a 25% reduction on all public transportation.
“We’re working with the various unions to ensure that we also can support them. But on our BRT, our trains, our ferry services, we’re going to begin to enjoy that almost immediately from this weekend.
“I’ve given an instruction, so they are working on the logistics for that.”
Recall that the Lagos State Government, in a bid to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal, slashed the costs of transportation of all state-owned transport systems by 50 per cent in August 2023. It was, however stopped in November, 2023.
Furthermore, Sanwo-Olu announced a free delivery for pregnant residents across all government-owned hospitals in Lagos.
“There is an arrangement for free delivery including cesarean session at government hospitals,” he said.
On rising cost of drugs and other pharmaceutical products, the governor promised that his administration “will also give rebate on some particular drugs at our state government hospitals”.
The governor noted that his administration was also in discussions with various transport unions to reduce their fares.
“First is to express empathy with our citizens, We are not unmindful of the situation, as leaders, we must be able to solve socioeconomic problems,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He also challenged the private sector to look into what they can do for the citizens by replicating their role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police To Lift Ban On Tinted Glass Permits
The Nigeria Police Force said it has conducted a comprehensive review of the issuance of tinted glass permits and is set to lift the ban on it for vehicles.
Previously banned in June 2022, the NPF said the ban then was a proactive move to bolster national security and tackle criminal activities linked to the misuse of tinted glasses.
The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this in a statement yesterday.
He said that ICT analysts and Eenforcement officers nationwide would undergo a comprehensive training scheduled for the 29th of February, 2024, as a prequel to the reopening of tinted glass permit issuance.
It read, “In a bid to enhance national security and curb criminal activities facilitated by the misuse of tinted glass, the Nigeria Police Force has concluded its review of the issuance of tinted glass permits, previously banned in June 2022.
“The ban was initiated due to widespread concerns regarding the role of tinted glass in aiding heinous crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery, the illegal transportation of firearms, human trafficking, etc.
“With the proposed lifting of the ban, stringent measures are being implemented to prevent abuse and ensure strict compliance with guidelines governing the issuance and use of tinted glass permits.
“ICT Analysts and Enforcement Officers nationwide will undergo a comprehensive training scheduled for the 29th of February, 2024, as a prequel to the reopening of tinted glass permit issuance.”
The statement also noted that the training will equip ICT analysts and enforcement officers with skills to regulate tinted glass permit registration, address public complaints, and enforce compliance.
It further stated, “The training will equip ICT Analysts and Enforcement Officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to regulate the registration process, guide registrants on the use of the portal where required, attend to complaints from members of the public, and enforce compliance effectively.
“It will focus on the intricacies of the new guidelines, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between public safety and individual freedoms while safeguarding national security.”
Highlighting the details in the to-be-newly issued permit, the statement explained, “The proposed tinted glass permit will incorporate distinctive features aimed at enhancing enforcement efficiency and security.
“These include a QR code linked to a central database for real-time verification, unique serial numbers correlated with vehicle and owner details, as well as a digital hologram ensuring authenticity and integrity, among other measures.
“It is crucial to highlight that the guidelines for the issuance of tinted permits and the use of tinted glass will strictly adhere to the provisions of the MOTOR VEHICLES (PROHIBITION OF TINTED GLASS) ACT 1991 and other relevant extant laws.”
Adejobi said this strategic approach underscores the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to prioritise public safety while upholding individual rights and national security interests.
Earlier in 2023, the police said they would soon reintroduce permits for vehicles with tinted glass across the country.
“The Nigeria Police Force remains committed to providing updates to the general public on the implementation of the reviewed process of tinted glass permit issuance, ensuring transparency and accountability in its efforts to maintain internal security,” the statement concluded.
NOSL Launches “you are not Alone” initiative to promote mental health
Maintaining optimal mental health is vital for thriving in society. To survive daily stress effectively, it is essential to cultivate positive coping mechanisms and embrace mindful living. Giving sufficient time to prioritise a healthy lifestyle becomes necessary in this quest.
To this end, On January 31, 2024, Natural Oilfield Services Limited (NOSL) organised a program ‘You Are Not Alone’ mental health awareness driven in partnership with Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) at the University of Lagos to create an awareness about the significance of mental well-being. This event was a proactive endeavour to initiate open dialogues and provide substantial resources for mental health care.
Mental health challenges have no boundaries. This mental health advocacy had a unique approach by inviting both mental health professionals and students from the University of Lagos to share their expertise and personal stories. This collaborative effort cultivated an environment of truthfulness that promotes acceptance and understanding.
Speaking during the event Dr. Mrs. Abolarin Abimbola expressed, ‘Navigating the landscape of mental health stigma requires collective effort and NOSL’s ‘You Are Not Alone’ is a positive initiative in mental health support. This will help to encourage dialogues and welcome different perspectives, which can reduce discrimination.’
“By unlearning misconceptions, fostering awareness, collaborating, and sharing insights, engaging in the community, every small step can contribute to a more caring world, and amplify its impact to bring a positive change. ”
Also speaking, Dr. G.A Akinbode said, ‘In a world where mental health challenges persist, NOSL’s initiative will act as a guiding force and illuminate the avenues towards a benevolent future. We appreciate NOSL for inviting the students who play an integral part in shaping societal attitudes towards mental health, where mental well-being is prioritised and identified.’
According to him Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) is Nigeria’s largest youth run and youth-focused mental health organization championing the fight against mental health related stigma and creating an environment that makes it possible for people to seek care for their mental health without fear of discrimination.
“NOSL believes that mental health conversation is fundamental. The company is poised to make an ever-lasting impression, an unwavering commitment to long-term sustainability to value psychological well-being and support mental health challenges.”
Dignitaries present at the event were Dr. Mrs. Abolarin Abimbola, Director Special Education and Guidance and Counselling, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Dr. Umar Adisa, Sub-Dean of Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Dr. G.A Akinbode, Head of Department of Psychology, University of Lagos, Dr. U.N Israel, Staff Adviser, Department of Psychology, University of Lagos,
Mr. Abiodun Oguntola, Executive Director, Mental Awareness Nigeria Initiative and Ms. Oluwatomilayo Awodoyin, Clinical Psychologist, Mental Awareness Nigeria Initiative.
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