Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan has directed increases in the 2013 budgetary allocation for health training institutions to ensure increase in the number of medical and dental specialists.
The president announced the decision in Lagos on Thursday at the 30th convocation ceremony of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.
The president, represented by Onyebuchi Chuwku, the Minister of Health, said the step was aimed at strengthening the training of medical specialists both within and outside the country.
Jonathan said: “Similarly, I have also directed that there be increased envelope for the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. This will be in a step wise manner for the next two years.
“Government has decided that 56 residents and young consultants will be sent for overseas training this year.
``While some institutions have concluded arrangements, others have not done so.
``The hospitals that have yet to comply should immediately do so before the end of this financial year.
``I also want to urge the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria to support these institutions in finding appropriate placement for the residents and consultants overseas.”
The president said that government in collaboration with health professionals in the Diaspora, Association of Nigeria Physicians in Americas, and the Medical Association of Nigeria Specialist in Great Britain had produced a medical curriculum template.
``The curriculum to which senate of universities could adapt for use, is important to address deficient areas that have been observed in schools,’’ the president said.
Jonathan said he was aware that the college had not benefitted from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) in spite of the challenges facing it in the area of funding.
``I have directed the Ministry of Health and the management of TETfund to meet and explore ways and manner the college can benefit from this fund,” he said.
Prof. Emmanuel Kuteyi, Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun, urged the government to ensure that people had access to health services.
Kuteyi, delivering the convocation lecture, entitled: ``Universal Health Care in Nigeria: the Role of Family Medicine``, said that high priority should be given to family physician training to avert crisis of insufficiency in primary care providers.
``In an evolving universal healthcare system, people must have access to preventive, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation services.
``Primary healthcare must be re-invigorated and made functional,” he said.
Prof. Victor Wakwe, the college president, said that the institution’s growth had been stunted because of the lack of funds.
Wakwe said that the college needed a clinical skills and simulation laboratory because it was gradually becoming difficult to get patients for learning and examinations.