Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Monday said Nigeria had capacity to export medical officers to needy nations if available potential were adequately harnessed and proper planning done.
He said that rather than contemplate restricting medical practitioners from moving out of the country, more of them could be trained, and from the pool, enough would remain in the country while some could be exported to needy nations.
According to the governor, Nigeria can leverage the massive demand for medical professionals trained in the country by signing bilateral agreements with foreign nations to train and export more of the professionals to these countries.
He stated this while inaugurating the Collegiate System in the State’s Schools of Nursing held at the College of Nursing, Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of the state.
He frowned at the prevailing development where medical professionals no longer empathised with humanity, saying that it had become commonplace and unethical.
Okowa urged all medical workers to adhere to the ethics of their professions by ensuring that they put in their best to render assistance to patients by showing them love at all times.
He said Nigeria had the challenge of nurses, midwives and doctors exiting the country, and pointed out that the situation had begun to trouble the healthcare system in the country.
The governor, however, said ‘’I think that as a nation, if we know where our strength lies, we can do things that can enable us to improve on where our strength lies.
“There is nothing wrong if there is a planned programme by Nigeria to train many more nurses than we need, and we enter into a bilateral relationship with other countries to export some of our nurses, midwives and doctors.
“I am not one of those that will come out to say that we are trying to make laws to stop or restrict the movement of medical personnel out of the country.
“What we need to do is to ensure that there is a planned programme by Nigeria to truly train more than our daily and yearly need and ensure that we are able to enter into strategic alliances with other countries’’.
He commended the Ministry of Health and management of Schools of Nursing in the state for their efforts at upgrading the institutions to the collegiate system, adding that such a system could enhance the training of more nurses and other medical workers.
“I believe that the college system that is starting in Delta will encourage this and I hope that we have people who are able to encourage and support you to do this.
“I believe that we have the capacity to train a lot more nurses than we need at the moment; it just requires a little more resource and focus,” he said.
Okowa also appreciated the Central Bank of Nigeria for supporting the state government to upscale some facilities in the college in Agbor.
“I also want to thank the Registrar of Nursing and Midwifery Council for promising to see how they can further upscale the number of students in the school.
“I can see that the students are very excited because beyond becoming nurses and midwives, they now have the opportunity of having a Higher National Diploma (HND) in nursing services,” he said.
Secretary-General and Registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Alhaji Farouk Umar Abubakar, in his remarks commended Okowa for his great commitment to the development of the state, including health and other sectors. He said that Okowa had written his name in gold for his positive contributions to nursing and other health professions in the country.
Abubakar disclosed that Nigerian nurses and midwives were performing well globally, and that the country had produced no fewer than 21,000 nurses in the past six years.
He said that domestication of the community-nursing programme in most states in the country had contributed immensely to producing adequate nursing and midwifery grassroots manpower for primary healthcare services.
Welcoming guests earlier, Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, said that the transition from School to College System wouldn’t have been possible without the unalloyed support of Governor Okowa to the ministry.
He said that the Colleges of Nursing in Agbor was indexed from 30 to 100 students; 50 to 75 for Warri and 50 to 70 for Eku, while the two schools of midwifery in Asaba and Sapele were indexed at 50.
Governor Okowa later inspected ongoing work at the College of Medicine, University of Delta, Agbor where he stated that the project would be completed in 18 months.
He stated that the university’s management had made arrangements for the College to start from a temporary site, with accreditation of courses already being worked out.