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Nigeria Only Has 130 Pediatric Surgeons APSON Laments

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Ojoma Yusuf, Yola

The Association of Pediatric Surgeons of Nigeria, (APSON) has loudly lamented that there are only 130 Pediatric Surgeons in Nigeria adding that out of the 130, a number of them have also left the country for greener pastures abroad.

This was disclosed on Thursday, at to the 21st APSON Conference and Annual General Meeting, AGM, tagged FOMBINA 2022, with the theme: “Management of Anorectal malformations” and subtheme: “Disorders of Sex Development,” holding in Yola, Adamawa State.

The guest lecturer, Prof. Francis Abantanga a pediatric surgeon from Ghana stressed on overview of the current traditional 6-year medical programme.

Prof. Abantanga, also reflected on how it takes so many years to produce a medical doctor in Nigeria, contrary to the four years spent to graduate medical doctors from universities abroad. This could be attributed to the reason Nigeria has an inadequate number of medical doctors.

It is after only graduating from the medical college that medical doctors would go for postgraduate residency training in their chosen specialties to become consultants.

The APSON’s President, Prof Auwal Muhammad Abubakar who is the CMD Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital, MAUTH, Yola lamented that some of the few Pediatric Surgeons in the county are migrating abroad for greener pastures.

“The Association of Pediatric Surgeons of Nigeria was formed in 1991, however, it was still in the embryonic period (arrested development) until September, 2001 when the 1st Scientific conference was held in LUTH, Lagos with about 20 Pediatric Surgeons from all over the country.

“I am happy to report that the annual meetings have continued to be held every year since then and the number of training centres and Pediatric Surgeons have also experienced a remarkable increase.

“Regrettably, many of our colleagues, especially the younger ones, are now leaving the country in droves for greener pastures abroad.

“We appeal to our governments to as a matter of urgency address the precipitating factors to reverse the trend that is posing a threat to the development of Pediatric Surgery and the surgical care of our children,” Prof Auwal said.

The APSON president has called on the governments to, as a matter of urgency, address the precipitating factors to reverse the trend that is posing a threat to the development of Pediatric Surgery and the surgical care of the children.

He said, “In Nigeria, even though children form half of the population, almost all facilities for their care are found in adult hospitals and often inadequate to cater for the specific needs of children.

“We appeal to our governments to as a matter of urgency address the precipitating factors to reverse the trend that is posing a threat to the development of Pediatric Surgery and the surgical care of our children. This we strongly believe, will improve the standard of care and reduce both the morbidity and mortality rates of childhood illnesses in Nigeria.

“I wish to acknowledge with gratitude the great feats recorded by our colleagues’ Pediatric surgeons in Nigeria, especially the several successful Conjoined twins’ separation across many of our centres in Nigeria and the employment of Minimal access surgery for more complex procedures.”

A Medical outreach was held at the General Hospital Ganye, Ganye local government of Adamawa state where 83 patients have benefited from the free surgeries; 53 Pediatric cases and 30 cases from other specialties, with more than 1,200 outpatients being attended to, this was to commensurate the annual APSON conference.

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