Minister of Works & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has called for urgent measures to tackle the challenges of infrastructural decay in the Nation’s medical education.
Mr. Fashola spoke at the 7th edition of the Late Felix Oladejo Dosekun Memorial Lecture at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, on Thursday April 8, 2021 that unless such step is taken, a reliable path to national development such as the flow of Foreign Direct Investment as well as advancement of critical and non-critical sectors of the economy will be near-impossible.
He paid tribute to Professor Dosekun’s scholarship and intellectual sagacity, on whose legacy the College of Medicine became a “Theatre of Expression” for Teachers and practitioners of medicine in the University of Lagos.
He argued that the decadence of medical infrastructure is not a challenge but a reality we must come to terms with as the essence of human existence. He asserted that everything that man makes diminishes or withers.
The Minister raised several questions that provided illuminating information on the type of infrastructure required to deliver the medical education needed for today and tomorrow. He queried the flight of quality hospital care and asked what could be done to re-create or restore it. He further asked in today’s specialties, if we needed more medical education about public health and medical personnel to focus on prevention rather than curative medicine. These questions he asserted formed the thrust our founding fathers used to establish the College of Medicine and instead of being challenged by the problems of the day, they were motivated to act.
The Former Lagos State Governor, therefore, charged practitioners that the responsibility they have is to undertake inquiry and bring forth the needs, and that the responsibility as government is to query them, embrace the needs, and then develop designs, budget and raise funding to provide them.
He posited that health Infrastructure is critical and it is of utmost importance to a nation. He was quite unequivocal about the numerous challenges and problems medical education in Nigeria is faced with while stating that a lack of a coherent admission policy, inadequate funding, poor planning, and erosion of values have led to a general perception of low standards and quality.
He concluded that achieving excellence in medical education therefore, does not come easy and cheap. It has to be planned for ab initio and it evolves over time. He explained further that the work does not end with providing infrastructure but that real work lies in maintenance, repair and rehabilitation. It was due to this reason in 2019, that the Buhari Administration approved a National Infrastructure Maintenance Policy and Programme which created a Department of Federal Public Asset Maintenance (DFPAM) with the first one established in the Ministry of Works and Housing.
In general, he summed up his lecture that the outcome of initial careful preparations, followed by rigorous and sustained execution of deliberate and well-articulated action plans and policies will change the narrative.
Earlier, the Provost of the College, Prof Anthonio Oke in his welcome address eulogized Late Professor Felix Dosekun as a man whose relentless contribution and work ethics helped to build a strong foundation for medical education in Nigeria.
He also used the opportunity to express appreciation to the contributors of medical research and education. He specially thanked the wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-olu who also is an alumna of the school for contributing towards the N2b endowment fund and helping the College to tackle inappropriate waste disposal by neighbours on their corridor.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, FAS, who was ably represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics & Research, Prof. Oluwole Familoni re-echoed the thoughts of the Guest Speaker that one of the major problems that bedeviled the process of development in Nigeria is the state of poor infrastructural facilities, which is neither an over statement nor a criticism. He said infrastructural facilities decay has systematically led to the present day underdevelopment with regards to medical education. He however thanked the organisers for a job well done.
The event was well attended by dignitaries which include the Registrar, Oladejo Azeez, Esq, friends of the University both in the town and gown.