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Nigerian medical professionals abroad kick-start knowledge and skills repatriation

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire has revealed that Nigerian Medical Professionals in Diaspora have been engaged to help support knowledge and skills transfer in various fields of medicine to strengthen health care service delivery back in Nigeria.

Dr. Osagie who stated this in Abuja, at the bi-monthly media engagement of the ministry powered by the Africa Health Budget Network, AHBN, with attendance from Head of Agencies and Directors in the Ministry, explained that the activity is as overseen by the Public Private Partnership, PPP, Diaspora Department of the Ministry.

Read: Address Brain Drain in the Health Sector NMA Urges FG

He explained that the program is currently being piloted at the University of Enugu Teaching Hospital, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.

“Three University Teaching Hospitals started this programme of knowledge and skills transfer, knowledge and skills repatriation to bring all the knowledge and skills they have over that side and exchange with our people here and at a point, it will be followed by a practical site where the teams will come and perform particular operations here that we are not doing so often but which we are doing, like the transplants for example, that they will come and start connecting with our university hospitals here.”

As is customary all heads of health departments and agencies present at the briefing were also required that give updates on their various activities ranging from COVID-19 surveillance/vaccination, lassa fever outbreak, hospital service, tuberculosis, drug administration and control among others.

During his presentation and response to questions directed at him by men of press, the National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Program, NTBLCP, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike revealed that Nigeria has currently declared an emergency in childhood TB following poor case reporting which currently stands at 6 percent.

Anyaike said despite progress made in areas of case finding over the past year, several targets with respect to combating and defeating tuberculosis in Nigeria have not been met.

“On annual basis, we expect to have 77 000 new cases of children who are infected with tuberculosis. So when we looked at our record last year, even with 207 000 we got, we realised that we made only 6%.

“That is not even upto the WHO target of 12% annually and our personal annual national target for childhood case finding. And that is why we have to declare childhood tuberculosis as an emergency. So and that is why we are putting in several mechanisms to ensure that not even that 12% but we will to improve on that.

“We have decided to also test malnourished children for TB using the geneXpert machine. So that we can detect early and place those who are positive on treatment early. No child should die of TB because just as it is with care for adults, testing and treatment are completely free.”

Also present at the Briefing, the Executive Director of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa declared by April 4, and Nigeria will commence implementation of a number of changes in COVID-19 protocols in the country, while others will come at a later date.

“The NCDC has supported the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 in revising the travel protocol and initiating changes as certain data analysis. Some of these changes include abolishing curfews, recommending discretional use of facemasks outdoors, removing the requirement for pre-departure PCR tests, and the plan to introduce sampling for testing at the airports for fully vaccinated passengers intending to travel to Nigeria.

“While these are being worked out, we expect that some of these changes will come into effect immediately from the 4th of April and others may come on board later. While the pandemic is not over, this is an attempt to find a balance such that lives are protected while of course livelihoods can continue fully.”

Meanwhile, the Department for Family Health in the Ministry, insisted that plans were in place towards successful hosting of FP2030’s Hub in North, West, and Central Africa in Abuja.

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