The General Medical Council which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom licensed at least 266 Nigerian doctors in June and July, 2022.
The implication is that at least three Nigerian doctors were licensed per day in June and July 2022 despite the moves by the Federal Government to stop the exodus of doctors and health workers in the country amidst worsening brain drain of the professionals in the country.
A continuous monitor of the GMC register, it was noticed that the number of Nigeria-trained doctors in the UK currently stands at 9,976.
The figure does Again, Buhari Jets Out To London For Medical Appointment For 13th Time include other doctors of Nigerian origin who did not undergo medical training in Nigeria.
Presently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.
The country however suffers a shortage of doctors.
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria noted that Nigeria now has over 100,000 doctors who have registered with the council.
Worryingly, Nigeria with a population of over 200 million citizens, indicate the percentage ratio of doctors to patients still falls below the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 1:600.
A poll by NOI in 2018 also showed that 88% of Nigerian doctors are considering work opportunities abroad, but experts say the figure may be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crunch.
Other popular destinations for Nigeria-trained doctors include United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
The PUNCH reports that the Nigerian Medical Association has continued to call on the Federal Government to provide a thriving environment for doctors and health workers to curb the massive brain drain.
Currently, doctors in Nigeria under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors have issued a two-week ultimatum to the government over poor welfare and failure to implement the new hazard allowance rate that was signed in December 2021.
The doctors had gone on strike for close to 60 days in 2021.
In an interview with The PUNCH, the Publicity Secretary of NARD, Dr Alfa Yusuf, said, “Government should declare a state of emergency on the health care sector, address the challenges, improve remuneration and good working conditions and address security issues.”
When asked about the causes of brain drain, Yusuf said, “Poor remuneration, poor working facilities, insecurities including assault on doctors and burn out from over work, among others.”
Also, the immediate past President of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Prof. Ken Ozoilo, said, “It is unfortunate that the government has once again failed to live up to expectations, but this is typical.
“This kind of attitude on the part of government and its agents feeds the notion that the government does not listen to workers unless they are on strike.
“Predictably, we are going into another round of NARD strike at a most difficult time and the government is squarely to blame.
READ ALSO: Why Nigerians Suffer Poor Healthcare – WHO
“Brain drain will sadly continue and will get worse. There is no measure put in place by the country yet that is capable of stemming the tide. Even the new hazard allowance fails miserably in this wise as it is a far cry from the demand of health workers.
“The NARD strike is not inevitable, but it is unlikely that agents of government responsible will act on time to avert it.”
Efforts to get the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, proved abortive as calls and messages forwarded to his line remained unanswered as of the time of filing this report.
Ondo Hospital Rations Fuel, Patient Dies During Surgery
A middle-aged-man, Sunday Samuel, has accused the Ondo State Trauma and Surgical Centre, Ondo Town, of negligence after his wife died during a surgical operation at the facility.
The deceased, Fola, was reportedly diagnosed with breast cancer.
The mother of four was thereafter placed on medication for about a month in the hospital ward before she was taken to the theatre for surgery on Monday, July 25.
According to her husband, the operation was disrupted by power outage, as the medical facility repeatedly switched between electricity and generator.
He also lamented that the hospital failed to provide a standby oxygen cylinder before embarking on the surgery, as none was available when they needed it during the operation.
Sunday said, “My wife had breast cancer and was admitted to the Ondo State Trauma Centre, where she was stabilised for close to a month.
“On Monday, July 25, she was taken from her ward and moved on a wheelchair into the theatre room around 10.30am. Shortly after they moved in, power supply went off, and they had to call the person in charge of the generator to switch it on.
“I was even surprised that the man was just pouring fuel into the generator. The power came back 30 minutes later and they switched off the generator.
“After an hour, the light went off again. That was when we started looking for the man in charge of the generator but we could not find him. So, I had to put on the generator myself; imagine a big hospital like that.
“All this was happening while the surgery was ongoing. About one hour later, the person in charge of the generator switched to normal power again. About one hour and 30 minutes later, one of the doctors rushed out to call someone in our presence to get oxygen.
“I was sitting directly opposite the theatre with my mother-in-law and a friend and did not see anyone take the oxygen into the theatre. It was later that they came out to tell me that my wife did not make it. That was when I broke down in tears.”
Sunday, a security guard, frowned on the decision of the hospital to manage the fuel in its generator at the expense of his wife’s life.
He noted that all the demands of the hospital were met before Fola was taken to the medical centre.
“We bought oxygen the previous week when she was still in the ward. It was not as if she needed oxygen, but they said she might need it at night. So, I paid for it and they went to purchase it and placed it by her side. For more than five days, she did not use it. It was one morning that I arrived that they said she was unconscious in the night and had to use oxygen. We also bought two pints of blood; one was used before the surgery and the other was meant to be used during the surgery. So, if it was fuel that they needed, I would have got it too, instead of rationing their fuel. I wondered why they should manage fuel while carrying out a surgery at the expense of someone’s life. My wife had the chance of surviving if those scenarios had not played out,” he added.
A member of the family, who witnessed the incident and identified himself as Tunde, said the deceased was getting better before she was considered for the surgery.
He said, “When they brought her here, she could barely walk. But she later started recuperating. She was already walking, eating and even visiting the restroom by herself some days before the surgery. Her file is there to prove this. A nurse even confirmed to us that she was already getting better and capable of undergoing the surgery and that something of such should not have happened.”
The Information Officer of the medical centre, Tope Akinjide, said the hospital did not carry out any surgery on Monday.
But when confronted with evidence by our correspondent, he confirmed that it was true that the patient was operated on that day.
He said, “I am into administrative matters and not clinical matters. And from my own desk, surgery is carried out on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Nevertheless, by their own discretion, they could have booked it for Monday. The surgery department has the right to schedule their operation. I have just confirmed the personality and the core subject matter of the case. It is true.”
Akinjide said a senior surgeon at the hospital told him that the survival chance of the patient was low.
“The issue is that when I spoke with the senior surgeon, he said the patient in question was in the ward for some weeks, and she had been critical, a late presentation of the case. The patient was having breast cancer and she took some pints of blood. More so, he said the patient’s oxygen was still intact, saying it did not get exhausted overnight,” he added.
Akinjide, however, did not respond to the allegations that the hospital was switching between electricity and generator while the surgery was ongoing.
He said he would contact the Deputy Chief Medical Director of the hospital for comprehensive details of the incident.
He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
US kills Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri In Drone Strike
A United States drone strike killed Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri at a hideout in the Afghan capital, President Joe Biden said Monday, adding “justice had been delivered” to the families of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In a somber televised address, Biden said he gave the final go-ahead for the high-precision strike that successfully targeted Zawahiri in the Afghan capital over the weekend.
“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said, adding that he hoped Zawahiri’s death would bring “closure” to families of the 3,000 people killed in the United States on 9/11.
A senior administration official said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a house in Kabul when he was targeted with two Hellfire missiles, an hour after sunrise on July 31, and that there had been no US boots on the ground in Afghanistan.
“We are not aware of him ever leaving the safe house. We identified Zawahiri on multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony of where he was ultimately struck,” the official said.
According to the official’s account, the president gave his green light for the strike on July 25 — as he was recovering in isolation from Covid-19. Biden said there were no civilian casualties in the operation.
It was the first known over-the-horizon strike by the United States on an Al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan since American forces withdrew from the country on August 31, 2021.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday evening that “by hosting and sheltering” Zawahiri, the Taliban had “grossly violated the Doha Agreement” signed in 2020, which paved the way for America’s withdrawal.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who grew up in a comfortable Cairo household before turning to violent radicalism, had been on the run for 20 years since the 9/11 attacks.
He took over Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011, and had a $25 million US bounty on his head.
Over the weekend the Afghan interior ministry denied reports circulating on social media of a drone strike in Kabul, telling AFP a rocket struck “an empty house” in the capital, causing no casualties.
Early Tuesday in Kabul, however, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an “aerial attack” was carried out on a residence in the Sherpur area of the city.
“The nature of the incident was not revealed at first. The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones,” his tweet said.
The news comes a month before the first anniversary of the final withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, leaving the country in the control of the Taliban insurgency that fought Western forces over the preceding two decades.
Under the 2020 Doha deal, the Taliban promised not to allow Afghanistan to be used again as a launchpad for international jihadism, but experts believe the group never broke its ties with Al-Qaeda.
“What we know is that the senior Haqqani Taliban were aware of his presence in Kabul,” the Biden official said.
Taliban interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani also heads the feared Haqqani Network, a brutal subset of the Taliban blamed for some of the worst violence of the past 20 years and which has been described by US officials as a “veritable arm” of Pakistani intelligence.
– Doctor turned jihadist –
Zawahiri, 71, lacked the potent charisma that helped bin Laden rally jihadists around the world, but willingly channeled his analytical skills into the Al-Qaeda cause.
He was believed to be the main strategist — the real mastermind who steered operations, including the September 11 attacks, as well as bin Laden’s personal doctor.
Saudi Arabia, the home country of bin Laden as well as many of the 9/11 hijackers, welcomed the announcement of Zawahiri’s death.
“Thousands of innocent people of different nationalities and religions, including Saudi citizens, were killed,” by terrorists under his leadership, the Saudi foreign ministry said.
Al-Qaeda is believed to have been degraded in the years since the US invasion of Afghanistan, and the White House official said Zawahiri was “one of the last remaining figures who carried this kind of significance.”
The organization, agreed Soufan Center researcher Colin Clarke, is “at a crossroads.”
“Despite Zawahiri’s leadership, which minimized AQ’s losses while rebuilding, the group still faces serious challenges going forward. For one, there’s the question of who will lead al Qaeda after Zawahiri’s gone,” he said.
Zawahiri’s father was a renowned physician and his grandfather a prayer leader at Cairo’s Al-Azhar institute, the highest authority for Sunni Muslims.
He became involved with Egypt’s radical Muslim community at a young age and published several books which came for many to symbolize the radical Islamist movement.
He left Egypt in the mid-1980s, heading for Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar where the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was based.
It was at that time, when thousands of Islamist fighters flooded into Afghanistan during the 1980s, that Zawahiri and bin Laden met, and in 1998 he became one of five signatories to bin Laden’s “fatwa” calling for attacks against Americans.
Jihadist monitor SITE said some militants were questioning the veracity of the report he had been killed, while others believed Zawahiri had achieved his desire of “martyrdom.”
As for Al-Qaeda’s future without him, SITE said jihadists were bullish, with one writing: “If Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri is dead, there are a thousand Aymans.”
Why Nigerians Suffer Poor Healthcare – WHO
Francis Ukwuije, Technical Officer, Health Financing, World Health Organisation, Nigeria, has blamed poor health care in Nigeria on the country’s very high out-of-pocket expenditure of more than 70 percent, with over 50 percent falling into poverty.
He made the observation in Abuja on Wednesday when a delegation of the first WHO health financing mission in Nigeria visited the management of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
He assured that efforts were on towards implementing compulsory health insurance in Nigeria, saying that they were important in advancing the development of the country.
Mohammed Sambo, the Chief Executive Officer, NHIA, opined that countries must provide financial risk protection for their people through health insurance in order to attain universal health coverage.
Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who also received the WHO’s team, explained that an estimated 83 million vulnerable Nigerians would benefit from universal health coverage programmes to make quality healthcare service affordable and accessible.
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