By Yashim Katurak
Prof. Ademola Olaitan, President, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, on Thursday said that the college had saved more than $5 billion for the country by training doctors locally.
Olaitan disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that before the college was set up in 1979, the Federal Government usually sent doctors abroad for training, spending about $200,000 each year, for five years.
The professor said such training overseas had now been taken over by the college, saving the government resources.
“After 1979, the college started training doctors and so far, we have produced no fewer than 5,338 postgraduate doctors.
“If you calculate this, then, you can get an idea of how much the country has saved from foreign training.
“Yearly, the number of graduates increases. Last year, we graduated no fewer than 500 doctors.
“The previous year, we had no fewer than 300; each year, the number increases; our main focus is that each year we produce more doctors for the nation.
“Another thing is that if every doctor that is training in Nigeria went abroad to receive training, we would not have the number of doctors we see today rendering services in our hospitals.
“They would have been rendering their services abroad.
“These are some of the benefits the college has given to society since it was set up,” Olaitan said.
He said that despite the college’s commitment to giving doctors quality and world standard training, it was being faced with financial challenges, hindering it from achieving some of its mandate.
He said that most benefits accruing to the universities from the Ministry of Education was denied the college, even though it could be termed a medical university.
“If the college can even receive just five to 10 per cent of the amount it has saved for government, this will go a long way in moving the college forward.
“Recently, we asked the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to fund our clinical simulation laboratory, but the request was not granted.
“This laboratory is supposed to help us to change the system of our doctors treating patients,’’ said the don.