Invest in health technology, medical schools to boost healthcare, Tomori tasks FG

…Says Nigeria aspires to have strong health system

By Chioma Obinna

A Professor of Virology, Professor Oyewale Tomori has called on the Federal government to invest in health technology and in the country’s medical schools to boost healthcare as the population continues to skyrocket while the number of doctors

Tomori who spoke at the 2022 General Meeting and 2nd Induction Ceremony of the Academy Medicine Specialties of Nigeria, said the Nigerian government should begin to look inwards for in-depth understanding of what the medical schools wish to provide as a service to the people.

In his keynote address entitled: “Tackling Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases & The Implementation of Medical Education in the 21st Century”, Tomori also urged the federal government to adopt the OneHealth approach instead of one-size-fits-all flexibility and adaptation as well as tailor medical education to meet changing needs of the society, behaviour, culture vis a vis infectious & non-communicable disease.

Noting that medical education for the 21st century must produce health professionals who are leaders and not bosses, he said there is a need for government to consider the role of machines (robots) and other applications that have already outperformed humans in many tasks.

He explained that the machines do not get sick or tired and have no age-diminishing returns and can easily be updated to reflect the latest advancements, requiring no bureaucracies to manage their affairs.

“Human professionals will have to come to terms with the need to defer to the superior capabilities of machines.  Medical schools must act now and undertake significant curricular reform in order to faceless books, and produce optimal practitioners in the rapidly transforming 21st century. He said the schools should move from information retention and regurgitation to synthesis and curation for knowledge capture.

Speaking, the Minister of Health, Prof. Osagie Ehanire said a lot was expected from the Academy both in service delivery and research and all the endeavours that can continue to deliver knowledge in the science and art of medicine.

“Nigeria aspires to have a strong health system. A strong health system is defined first and foremost by Universal Health Coverage, UHC. How many people are protected by the health service in your country?

Stating that the Academy has a huge role to play in ensuring quality healthcare, he said the country was still far from achieving universal health coverage.

He said the government is proposing one functional Primary Healthcare Centre in every ward, adding that it is the layer of healthcare that is lost and easily overlooked. “We sometimes forget that right at the bottom is the mass of citizens who are virtually excluded from healthcare.”

The President of the Academy of MedicineSpecialties of Nigeria, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru urged the federal government and agencies including the private sector and well-meaning philanthropists to help fund the academy. Ashiru lamented that only the fellows have been donating money and tasking themselves to support the Academy. 

“This country suffers from lack of funding from the government to support the growth of medical research.” Funding is essential and a critical part of medical advancement anywhere in the world, adding that no country can survive without strategic support for research and medical research.

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