Nigeria has only 130 paediatric surgeons – APSON

The Association of Paediatric Surgeons of Nigeria, (APSON) has lamented that there are only 130 Paediatric Surgeons in Nigeria adding that out of the 130, some have left the country for greener pastures abroad.

The painful to hear development was revealed 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.

In his “overview of the current traditional 6-year medical programme, might a 5-year programme be sufficient and preferable? postgraduate paediatric surgical training in the Anglophone countries of West Africa”, the guest lecturer, Prof. Francis Abantanga, a Paediatric Surgeon from Ghana 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 choosen 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 Paediatric Surgeons in the county are migrating abroad for greener pastures.

“The Association of Paediatric 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 Paediatric 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 Paediatric 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 Paediatric 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 Paediatric 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 Paediatric 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’ Paediatric 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.

Highlights of the APSON 21st Scientific Conference and AGM include Medical outreach that was held at the General Hospital Ganye, Ganye local government of Adamawa state where 83 patients have benefited from the free surgeries; 53 Paediatric cases and 30 cases from other specialties, with more than 1,200 outpatients being attended to.

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