The House of Representatives Committee on Health has revealed that not less than five wards, with about 150 beds, have been closed down at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba due to a shortage of health workers.
The chairman of the committee, Dr. Amos Magaji said the five wards had to be shut because there were no health workers to operate them despite the large number of patients received at the institutions on a daily basis.
He said LUTH was under threat due to brain drain, as many health workers in LUTH, especially nurses and doctors, have left the teaching hospital in search of greener pastures abroad.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after an oversight visit to the teaching hospital, Magaji noted that the alarming rate of migration of health workers was becoming a national embarrassment to the country.
He, however, said that steps were being taken to halt the massive exodus of health professionals abroad.
He said: “We saw significant problems here. Right now, there are about five wards in LUTH, totalling about 150 beds that have been shut down because there are no nurses and doctors to work in those wards. And these are a result of the ‘japa’ syndrome we are having.
“As a committee, we will work together with the Federal Government and also with the teaching hospital to find a way out of these national embarrassments that have befallen this country
“It’s not something that can be fixed in one day, but nevertheless, we are going to be approaching it piecemeal. We are going to do what we can do immediately and what we can do long-term approach to it.
“So, by the grace of God, some of the issues of the ‘japa’, we are actually looking at how to solve this problem, starting even from the enrollment in universities, and then how house officers are employed, and then of course, the residency programme.”
While admitting that many health professionals in the country work under stringent conditions, the health committee chairman further stressed, “We will also look at issues of funding. We are also looking at issues of infrastructure, because the truth is that, many health workers in Nigeria are working under stringent conditions.
“They have sacrificed so much for Nigerians to be healthy, for us to get proper health care. Our hands are on deck, and then that was the reason why if you were here earlier, you discovered that some of the key questions and some of the key things we attended here were things that have to do with delivering affordable and accessible health care to Nigerians.”
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, urged corporate individuals and Nigerians to partner with the institution in delivering quality health care to the people.
The CMD noted that the hospital would continue to strive for public-private partnerships in cancer management, radio diagnosis, lab services, several ophthalmology services, and several dental services.
He maintained that partnership with the other stakeholders would go a long way in solving some of the major challenges the health sector was being faced with.