From Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The Institute of Medical Sciences Africa (IMSA), a leading non-governmental, not-for-profit medical institution developing human capacity in healthcare in Africa, has graduated its first batch of sub-specialist gynaecologists in Infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
Experts say this is a milestone for Nigeria, as the institute is the first post-fellowship programme that the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) has accredited.
In his address during the end of programme for its six graduands, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of IMSA, Dr. Ibrahim Wada, said Nigeria needed to train as many people as possible in how to handle infertility issues.
“The country has hundreds of thousands, if not millions of citizens that are childless and are struggling to complete their families. Touching on so many citizens, it is important that we train people correctly on how best to handle those issues.
“We are in a nation where some people are trained, but a lot who are practising don’t have the full complement of knowledge to be of high standard to the people in need. This is being addressed. Hitherto, people will go abroad to India or somewhere else and they are not exposed to practices in those places; they just read a little bit and come back and they are unleashed on the community and the society. This we are saying no to – Nigeria can help herself.
“These people are the first batch of gynaecologists trained in a very structured manner; so they can face our community as we know they’re not dangerous. This is a great day for us and it’s a combination of effort between the West African College of Surgeons that produces all our specialists in this kind of area, our medical training institute called Institute for Medical Sciences Africa (IMSA), and two hospitals – Nisa Premier Hospital and Garki Hospital.
“We led the team in this country that delivered baby Hannatu about 24 years ago. That girl is a first class graduate now. This is something good for the country because the processes were verified by the government. Thousands of families since her time have been relieved of barrenness, sadness and divorce because some families wouldn’t stand the test of time without babies. What touches my heart the most is advancing the science of reproduction in this country to the extent that couples who are AS and AS, can now face a future without children who are SS. This is an achievement for the soil of Nigeria.”
Representing the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Anas-Kolo, welcomed the initiative and thanked those behind the training for believing in the country.
“I want to appreciate you for believing in Nigeria, and believing in the local content because this is what the President of the Federation Muhammadu Buhari has preached every day.
“One of the visions of this administration is universal healthcare coverage, which means leaving no one behind. I will say that women that suffer infertility have been left behind in this country. But this shows us that such couples have not been left behind,” Anas-Kolo said.
The President of WACS, Prof Joseph Ikechebelu, said there was a need for professionals to operate at higher levels of specialisation, which helps with advanced skills.
“We found out that in Nigeria today, there is a yearning for people to operate at a higher level of specialization – advanced skills. But because we don’t have any structured and certificate programmes before now; people will go to India and so many other places and spend some time, and come back to Nigeria to say they are super-specialists.
“As a college, we observed the deficiencies in this arrangement, particularly because when people travel to other countries, they may not have the opportunity to do hands-on because they are not licensed to practise in such countries. Most of the times, such trainings will be observantship training and they just come back with theories, and then use Nigerians to practise the theories they’ve learnt. That is why the post-fellowship programme was conceived, and good enough, the Nisa Premier, Garki Hospital and IMSA became the first organisations to say – ‘we can house this project,’” Ikechebelu said.