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Expert urges action against brain drain of anaesthetists, anaesthetic technicians

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Expert urges action against brain drain of anaesthetists, anaesthetic technicians

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A consultant anaesthetist, Major General Obashina Ogunbiyi (retd.), has appealed to the federal and state governments to address the migration of anaesthetists and anaesthetic technicians from the country.

Ogunbiyi said this during the first matriculation ceremony of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, School of Anaesthetic Technology, on Friday in Lagos.

He said this while delivering a keynote address titled: “Anaesthesia Workforce Development in Nigeria: Opportunities in a Challenging Terrain.”

Ogunbiyi said that anaesthetists and anaesthetic technicians were critical to the provision of safe anaesthesia in the face of a challenging terrain typified by the dwindling economy.

He said that “poaching” by high-income countries, chiefly Saudi Arabia, had put a question mark on bridging the gap in the Nigerian anaesthesia workforce.

According to him, Nigeria has a low density of anaesthesia providers and allied workforce, compared to its population.

Ogunbiyi, the Medical Director, Life Centre, a Lagos State COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre, said that an inadequate anaesthesia workforce would hinder access to safe surgery.

According to him, the development of modern anaesthesia practice in many low-income countries like Nigeria had lagged behind that of high-income countries, despite early reports of accomplishments.

Ogunbiyi noted that the training of anaesthetic technicians was critical and relevant to the anaesthesia workforce.

“These “specialised” cadre responsible for assisting physician anaesthetists in the operating theatre have been “taught” on the job without necessary certification.

“However, there are now a few Schools of Anaesthetic Technology, accredited by the relevant regulatory body, offering this training with certification,” he said.

He commended LASUTH management for their initiative to improve on the “teamwork” in the anaesthesia space, noting that it would enhance the country’s anaesthesia workforce.

Ogunbiyi added that it would also chart a better course and impact positively on patient safety in a multi-specialty teaching hospital such as LASUTH.

Earlier, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director, LASUTH, said that the hospital management moved to train new anaesthesia technicians to bridge the country’s healthcare workforce gap.

Fabamwo noted that the school was borne out of the desire to advance the hospital’s service more since LASUTH had the resources and personnel to provide the requisite training.

He said that anaesthetists were in high demand because they were critical to positive surgical outcomes for patients.

According to him, anaesthesia technicians support anaesthetists by preparing and maintaining anesthesia equipment for use in surgical operations.

Fabamwo said that the school which had been duly certified would offer a three-year comprehensive programme in anaesthetic technology.

He noted that the best among the 34 matriculating students would be retained by the hospital.

Fabamwo advised the students to uphold the school’s rules and avoid misconduct that would lead to the breakdown of law and order in the school.

The CMD urged the government to create an enabling environment through wages and infrastructure improvements to encourage healthcare workers from migrating from the country.

(NAN)

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