Don seeks more funding for the health sector

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…laments dearth of specialists in gastrointestinal diseases

By Mosunmola Ayobami, Ilorin

A lecturer at the Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Prof Abdulfatai Olokoba, has lamented the shortage of specialists in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases in the country.

Professor Olokoba attributed this shortage to the underfunding of the health sector in Nigeria.

Olokoba also called for the establishment of gastrointestinal repair and maintenance centres.

He stated this in Ilorin while presenting a paper titled: “Looking through a tube to see the world within the tube: experience and challenges of gastrointestinal endoscopy in Nigeria,” at the 224th inaugural lecture of the university.

Olokoba noted that endoscopy equipment are very expensive, adding that available ones have become obsolete.

He regretted that the general underfunding of the health sector below the 15 percent Abuja declaration threshold of 2001, affects and partly contributes to inadequate funding of GI endoscopy services in Nigerian hospitals.

“Similarly, there is dearth of endoscopy nurses, endoscopy technicians, biomedical engineers with competence in the maintenance and repair of GI endoscopes.

“This manpower shortage has been further compounded by brain drain. Some of the factors which have contributed to this are the pull and push factor, lack of job satisfaction, poor work environment and conditions, poor remuneration and insecurity,” he said.

He called for public private partnership in the provision of GI Endoscopy services in the country as well as training and re-training of gastroenterologists and endoscopists.

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