WHETHER THE mentality and craze for medical vacation overseas by Nigerian leaders would end up with improved medical facilities in our health care system still remains a mirage. Even though government has made some laudable impressions in pursuing the global standards practice and reposition the country’s health sector, little or nothing seems to have changed. Transfer of technology into the health sub sector to achieve positive results has been ongoing to achieve greater participation and patronage. Common sense would appreciate that so much might not have been done to jettison love for decades of taste for foreign trip under the guise of medical treatment or vacation. In realization of these novel objectives, some hospitals were created and upgraded to specialists’ status by successive regime in the country. Typical of the health institution is National Ear Care Center, NECC, located in Kaduna, the defunct capital of northern region. Established in 1999 by federal government of Nigeria, the center stands on Triple Mandates. The mandates which are important and key to human existence, include Manpower Training, Treatment of Patients in areas of Ears, Nose and Throat, ENT, related diseases, and Coordinate research in the field of ENT diseases respectively. Right from inception when the center commenced operation in Lagos under Prof. Philip Okeowo, as the pioneer Medical Director, a lot of progress have been made towards meeting the mandates. Record shows that after initiating the process that led to the success of NECC, through several presentations made to the government, Prof. Okeowo of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, was replaced by Prof. Babagana. M Ahmed from University of Maiduguri, as the centre’s second Medical Director. Under Ahmad’s administration, who served for upwards of eleven years, the centre was relocated from Lagos to Kaduna and to the present permanent site which is a laudable achievement. While in Kaduna, the centre passed through many hurdles, including securing an office accommodation before it finally got to the present permanent site. In their early times in Kaduna, Dr. Mohammed Garba Mainasara was in charge before Dr. A S. Labaran was appointed acting medical director by federal ministry of health between 2013 and 2014. The centre grew up from strength to strength, and when ABU teaching hospital Kaduna moved to permanent site in Shika, it moved into the psychiatric wing, located at Independence way, as permanent site. While at the permanent site, the centre became fully functional and integrated with both the administrative, clinical service and operative theatres. Unlike in the past, when the country had only a training center, NECC is fully accredited by both the West African College of Surgeons and National postgraduate medical college of Nigeria as a training institution. Penultimate last year, it graduated two new fellows as consultants, and a lot of residents’ doctors in various departments of medicine to become consultants. With the help of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and the determination of the past medical directors, the school has also trained over 500 ENT nurses over the years for all teaching hospitals, federal medical centres and state general hospitals across Nigeria. Some West African countries are trying to replicate Nigeria’s programs in their country. For instance, Ghana and Sierra Leon have been communicating with Nigeria experts in NECC, as well, trained middle level manpower for primary ear care courses, and community health workers among others. There are also community health officers and extension workers who come from all over the country. Many states have made special arrangements with the school, and have sent their staffs for the training. The programs have had far reaching impact on health care systems in Nigeria. Instants abound where deaf persons which hitherto are seen as hidden handicaps and for which most of Nigerians believe that ENT sickness are not ailments one should go to hospital about, instead consult healers and pray over it, are healed. However, as part of the achievements, the centre has procured and installed 32 Slides CT Scan machine with 2014 Capital appropriation, construct new school audiology technician programme and renovate the medical stores. It has also procured a new solar street light, office furniture for staff, procured utility vehicles, operating theatre instruments, with 2014 capital and completion of CSSD block and laundry with 2015. Indeed, to make the center standardized and a home-away from home, it has constructed a storey building to accommodate audiology, temporary bone lab. The consultant’s offices are in progress while the renovation of male and female OPD is almost completion stage. It may also interest you to note that approval has been granted to the centre by NHlS as primary provider. The welfare of staff has also been prioritized by the current of leadership of Prof. Bakari Aminu after the settlement of overtime arrears, uniform allowance arrears and relativity allowance respectively between 2013/14, to 2015, among others. With all these put in place and if all specialized health care delivery centers across the country are put in proper stead with the required qualified medical personnel, the era of brain drain where trained Nigerian doctors, Nurses, medical technologists run to overseas countries to work for better welfare will be over. Medical tourism will also be discouraged because of the state of art of facilities available coupled with right staff and good working condition.


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