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Brain drain: “5-10 of our members leave Nigeria weekly.”- Association of Resident doctors lament

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The President of the Association of Residents Doctors (ARD) in the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Dr. Rahman Olayinka, lamented the alarming trend where five to ten members of the association migrate to other countries weekly in pursuit of improved welfare packages and a conducive working environment.

Dr. Olayinka expressed deep concern at a press briefing held on Monday 4th December 2023, where he advocated for a comprehensive overhaul of Nigeria’s health system to tackle the critical issue of brain drain.

What He Said

Olayinka highlighted the primary reasons for this exodus, stating,

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“The advocacy is for improved welfare packages. Health workers leave because they get better welfare packages, good working environments, and a proper healthcare system, including robust insurance cover for their families.”

Emphasising the urgency of the matter, he called for a complete restructuring of the healthcare system in the country to stem the tide of healthcare professionals seeking opportunities abroad.

Despite an upward review in salaries and wages by the FCTA, Dr. Olayinka pointed out that the new salary scale is yet to be implemented, underscoring the need for prompt action to address the grievances of healthcare professionals.

Dr. Olayinka highlighted that the upcoming ARD Health Week with the theme titled “The State of Nigeria’s Health Care System: An Update,” presents a unique opportunity to engage in discussions that can contribute to enhancing the nation’s health sector.

He stressed the necessity of aligning Nigeria’s healthcare system with World Health Organisation guidelines. He outlined several key topics to be addressed, including the unresolved crisis in the health system, the role of government and society in improving healthcare, and the pertinent issue of medical victimisation and bullying of medical doctors.

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Nursing mother stranded in hospital, alleges husband diverted medical fund

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A new mother, Susan Ubangha, has cried for help over her deteriorating health condition after giving birth at the Alimosho General Hospital in the Igando area of Lagos State.

This is as she alleged that her husband used the money meant for her medical bill to buy a phone and a dog.

Ubangha, in a lengthy post on her X handle, stated that her ordeal started in the weeks leading to the delivery of her baby as she started to experience sudden and severe shortness of breath.

The nursing mother who claimed to have been rushed to the hospital alleged that her husband failed to pay for her hospital bills.

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She claimed that her husband was opposed to a caesarean section due to the financial constraints while he suggested that would deliver the baby naturally

She wrote, “I got traditionally married recently and took in. I thought that was the best thing that happened to me, everything was going well until I entered the 35th week. I suddenly developed shortness of breath, I could barely walk two seconds without being out of breath. Thinking it was one of those symptoms of late pregnancy, I didn’t take it seriously until the 14th of April when I could barely breathe, and couldn’t lift my head up.

“I was rushed to a nearby clinic, they couldn’t handle me, so I was taken to my hospital where I was admitted and placed on oxygen. The doctors told my husband we should opt for CS, as I and my unborn child were at risk. My husband said no, that I’d definitely deliver naturally. He insisted he had no money for CS and that they should work on stabilising my breathing. So for three days, I was on oxygen and feeling better. Seeing that I was responding to treatment, my husband went around and insisted I should be discharged against the doctor’s advice.”

Ubangha said she became weak to argue with her husband whose insistence led her to be discharged from the hospital.

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She however noted that she developed breathing problems again after she arrived home, adding that her husband thereafter bought a herbal drink which he asked her to drink to make her baby’s head turn for natural delivery.

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She further narrated she was in so much pain that she drank only for the pain to intensify while she struggled so much till about 1 am in the morning when she couldn’t take it anymore.

She said, “I cried out, my neighbours came running and I was again rushed to the hospital, admitted and placed on oxygen. While my doctors determined what to do, my husband insisted he had no money for a cesarean section. All these while, I was spending my life’s savings on medications, this and that tests.”

“This dragged on until the morning of 29th April, I was broken, my baby wasn’t moving, my breathing wasn’t good, I couldn’t push and my baby’s position was beached. I cried out on Facebook where a kind Samaritan sent me 500k to pay for CS and whatever else I might need afterwards.”

On how her husband allegedly squandered the money Ubangha said, “I immediately sent the sum of 180k and an additional 60k so he could pay for the surgery and whatever we might need. He took the money and spent it instead on a phone and bought a dog while I was battling with life, thinking he was paying.

She said, “We waited from 10 am when I gave him the money to about 2 pm, Doctors were shouting, time was running out, I had to call his sister, counted another N180,000 and gave her, she’s the one who paid. He came at 6 pm when I was being wheeled into the theatre. I could hear both of them fighting, the sister threatening to arrest him.”

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Ubangha who eventually gave birth through a cesarean section alleged that her husband had abandoned her, as she was left with her newborn baby girl and her aged mother at the hospital.

Ubangha explained that she was stranded having spent all she had on the medical bills and food, and appealed to the public for help to save her.

In a picture attached to the post, the nursing mother could be seen with a swollen leg

“First diagnosis was that I had peripartum cardiomyopathy. I’ve done ECKG, chest X-ray and a series of other blood tests that I’m waiting for a report on. Whatever the outcome, I will need every help I can get. I need about 500k to help with whatever treatment plan and to help facilitate my discharge process,” she added.

Ubangha explained that she was stranded having spent all she had on the medical bills and food, and appealed to the public for help to save her.

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In a picture attached to the post, the nursing mother could be seen with a swollen leg

“First diagnosis was that I had peripartum cardiomyopathy. I’ve done ECKG, chest X-ray and a series of other blood tests that I’m waiting for report on. Whatever the outcome, I will need every help I can get. I need about 500k to help with whatever treatment plan and to help facilitate my discharge process,” she added.

Efforts to reach the hospital proved abortive as all the contact numbers they provided on their website did not connect. A message sent to their mail had yet to be replied to as of the time this report was filed.

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NACA Hosts first HIV prevention conference in Nigeria

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The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), has hosted the first ever Nigeria HIV Prevention Conference in the country.

The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, emphasized the critical importance of prevention and combating the disease, echoing the sentiment, “Prevention is better than cure.”

The conference with the theme: “Accelerating HIV Prevention to End AIDS through Innovations and Community Engagement” is a high-level event held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city from 7th May to 9th May, 2024.

The conference will showcase diverse sessions, including dedicated tracks on youth empowerment under the theme “Adolescents and Young People (AYP) as Change Agents,” community engagement sessions, leadership discussions, plenary sessions, sponsored sessions, and special sessions.

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The conference’s objectives include optimizing innovative HIV prevention approaches towards achieving epidemic control, promoting equitable and inclusive human rights-based approaches to HIV Prevention, and strategizing for increased domestic funding towards community ownership and sustainability of HIV prevention programmes.

He highlighted the urgent need to curb new infections, especially among vulnerable populations.

The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa represented by the Director and Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Health, Dr. David Atuwo said President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to improving healthcare access for all Nigerians sets a powerful tone for the conference.

“His vision, articulated through the Health Sector Evolution Project, aims to ensure equitable, efficient, and quality healthcare services for every citizen, regardless of HIV status. The focus on prevention aligns with global efforts to achieve the 95-95-95 targets by 2030, as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.

The conference serves as a platform for discussing and evaluating prevention strategies tailored to Nigeria’s socio-cultural landscape.

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Dr. Alausa emphasized the need to leverage effective interventions and best practices while fostering ownership and sustainability in the national HIV response.

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“With a call for collective action, including support from healthcare professionals, civil society organizations, and those affected by HIV, the goal of an AIDS-free Nigeria becomes attainable.

“As the conference progresses, all eyes are on the outputs and implementation of selected strategies. President Bola Tinubu’s anticipation of a future where no child is born HIV-positive in Nigeria underscores the stakes, with concerted efforts and collaboration, the nation stands poised to turn the tide against HIV/AIDS, setting the stage for a healthier and more prosperous future,” he said.

In his goodwill message, the Chairman of the House Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (ATM), Amobi Ogah, emphasized that Nigeria must reduce reliance on foreign donors to combat the HIV epidemic.

Hon. Ogah said this can only be achieved if the federal and state governments increased budgetary allocations to the health sector.

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“NACA must aim to expand treatment centres in the country to 300 by the end of 2024, it is important to involve the National Assembly in programmes to ensure ownership and awareness,” he said.

In her welcome address, the Director-General of (NACA), Dr Temitope Ilori said the gathering marks a significant milestone in the country’s collective efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.

She said notable progress has been made, “Shaping our response and strategies to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our country.

“I extend heartfelt appreciation to all our partners whose support has made this conference possible. It is a testament to the power of collaboration and shared commitment towards a common goal,” she said.

She acknowledges the PEPFAR team for their support in providing the venue and facilitating the youth conference and to UNAIDS for their generous seed grant.

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The Director-General also acknowledges the unwavering support and visionary leadership of President Bola Tinubu in creating an enabling environment and allocating resources for this conference.

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Dr Ilori said the theme for the conference underscores the importance of community involvement in shaping effective prevention strategies while ensuring access to treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS.

She noted that from 2016 to the present, NACA has adopted diverse strategies including combination prevention therapy, HIV self-testing, harm reduction initiatives, treatment as prevention, and the reassessment of Nigeria’s HIV epidemic through the NAIIS in 2018, among other measures.

“However, despite our achievements, our work is far from over. We must redouble our efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission and strive for an AIDS-free generation by 2030, leveraging the advancements in health technology at our disposal,” she said.

She added that stigma and discrimination remain significant barriers to achieving the set goals by 2030.

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“We must educate and sensitize people about the harmful effects of stigma and discrimination against individuals living with HIV/AIDS, our strategies must be inclusive, person-centred, and sensitive to the needs of adolescents, young people, key populations, and people living with HIV/AIDS,” she added.

In his goodwill message, the UNAIDS Country Director, Dr Leo Zekeng highlighted the commitment made in 2021 to reduce new HIV infections by 83 per cent in 2025.

Dr Zekeng expressed optimism about Nigeria’s capability to address this challenge but identified several obstacles, including the lack of political leadership commitment to prevention, inadequate state government investment, and funding limitations.

Zekeng emphasized the need to scale up investment in prevention kits and address challenges such as data collection, legal and political environments, and community engagement.

He urged participants to explore innovative strategies during the conference to curb new infections and assured UN support in these efforts.

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In his goodwill message, the National Coordinator, National AIDS and STDs Control Programme (NASCP), Bashorun Adebobola, said it is important to recognize the imperative of decentralization in the country’s efforts.

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Dr Adebobola said it’s essential to intensify leadership at the sub-regional level to ensure effective implementation of prevention strategies.

He said NASCP is fully committed, alongside SACA, to ensuring that the conference culminates into tangible outcomes and actionable points that will drive meaningful progress in our fight against HIV.

The National Coordinator of the Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (ASWHAN), Esther Hindi, emphasized the critical importance of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme as a pivotal step toward ending transmission.

Hindi highlighted the need for inclusivity in the current era, particularly in empowering women to understand and address their challenges.

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She also advocated for the empowerment of women, highlighting the transformative impact it has on both individuals and nations.

The representative of the National Coordinator of the Association of Positive Youths in Nigeria (APYIN) Aaron Sunday passionately called on stakeholders to join hands in collaboration with young people living with HIV.

Sunday emphasized the vital role of continuous support, highlighting the positive outcomes yielded by NACA’s Technical Working Groups in identifying numerous young individuals.

Additionally, He appealed for sustained backing to empower youth and enhance their education, enabling them to navigate life-changing decisions more effectively.

In his heartfelt goodwill message, the National Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Abdulkadir Ibrahim affirmed the network’s unwavering support for NACA’s pursuit of its objectives.

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Ibrahim emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts, highlighting challenges in Nigeria’s data management system.

He stressed the critical need for unity among stakeholders to advocate for government and partner support.

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Nurse accuses Lagos hospital of negligence over wife, son’s death

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A registered nurse anaesthetist, Prince Ovwiomodiowho, has accused a private hospital in Lagos State, R Jolad Hospital, Agege, of alleged negligence and failure to provide adequate care, which reportedly led to the death of his wife, Loveth and unborn son, already named Jason.

The distraught man told Theheute, that his late wife started ante-natal at the hospital in 2023 but reportedly bled to death on March 8, 2024, shortly after undergoing a caesarean section.

Ovwiomodiowho insisted that the lack of a competent surgical team and equipment were factors that contributed to the untimely death of his wife and baby.

He lamented that long hours of induction led to the rupture of his late wife’s uterus, causing heavy bleeding.

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Recounting the traumatic events that unfolded during his wife’s stay at the private hospital, Ovwiomodiowho said, “I have been in despair, unimaginable trauma, prolonged pain and unending sorrow since March 8, 2024, following the gruesome murder of my precious wife Loveth and innocent son, Jason.

“My wife had no surgical and medical history; she was their patient from the start of the pregnancy. All her labs, vitals and scans were normal, and her packed cell volume before delivery was 39 per cent.

“The doctor in charge, Marcus, prescribed the induction from midnight and said there was no clear indication for a C/Section. I objected to the midnight induction but he insisted it was the hospital protocol.

“Marcus commenced induction with Misoprostol twice under the watch of his junior doctors and midwife. They claimed Misoprostol induction failed and my wife was not contracting and also claimed her cervix was ripped for another type of induction with oxytocin, which they commenced.

“After 10 hours of aggressive prolonged induction with cervical dilatation only reaching 6cm, her uterus was hyperstimulated until it busted (She had ruptured uterus) and started active silent bleeding.”

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Ovwiomodiowho said the hospital claimed not to be aware that his wife was bleeding until she collapsed, started gasping for air, started foaming from the mouth and later, became unconscious.

He further said, “My wife was bleeding and the hospital claimed they were not aware until she collapsed and started gasping for air with extremely low blood pressure and severely compromised vital signs.

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“She needed active resuscitation, immediate caesarian section and exploratory laparotomy but once again, the hospital had no surgeon, no anaesthetist, and no paediatrician (No surgical team) in place for the surgery.

“Major surgical and resuscitation equipment was not available. There was no reliable oxygen system, no laryngoscope and no fictional ventilator. She was left to breathe by herself via an endotracheal tube during surgery.”

“There was no electricity throughout the surgery. At some points, they were using phone torchlight for surgery. Due to the unimaginable and gross incompetence of the surgical team, haemostasis could not be secured; she was bleeding from multiple bleeders. My wife and son eventually bled to death, and the theatre floor was a river of blood despite various colloids that were infused. Imagine leaving with the horror of the scene.

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“The death certificate of my wife says she suffered a ruptured uterus with massive uterine haemorrhage.”

He also claimed that efforts to get his late wife’s uterus, which was removed during the surgery were not successful.

“My wife’s uterus (womb) was removed during surgery and the hospital has refused to give me the specimen despite multiple requests. I don’t know if they are planning to sell it or if they are deliberately trying to make the autopsy inconclusive.

“The hospital has also refused to give me the placenta. It is only the corpse of my wife and son that was handed over.

“I have reported the incident to the Health Facilities Monitoring and Accreditation Agency, Commissioner of Health and Permanent Secretary in Lagos, and I am waiting for their responses,” he said.

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While arguing that the death of his wife and son was avoidable and unnecessary, the aggrieved nurse said it was “a deliberate act of reckless manslaughter.”

He lamented, “How can an obstetrician and gynaecologist be in another facility and still hell-bent on inducing my wife under the watch of his staff from 12 am till 10 am until her uterus gave way? It ruptured without any O&G consultant available to review it.

“The consultant provoked massive torrential bleeding and both he and his team claimed they had no clue as to why my wife, who was their patient was bleeding and was racing into hypovolaemic shock.

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“Even when she eventually suffered a total cardiovascular collapse in labour, became unconscious and needed intensive care, immediate Ex lap with an emergency caesarian section, she was denied early surgical intervention until she suffered hypoxic brain injury.

“It took over three hours for the intensivist to start attending to her and over two hours for the O&G consultant to commence surgery, the paediatrician never came.”

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He added, “During this unbearable waiting time for the surgeon to show up, I was forced to commence active resuscitation on my wife because the team on the ground was in deep confusion and panic.

“Finally, they arranged a grossly incompetent surgical team that could not secure bleeding despite infusions of colloids and crystalloids, causing traumatic death of both mother and baby.”

The nurse also accused the hospital management of deepening his pain and loss by subjecting him to all manner of inhumane treatment and intimidation.

He lamented, “In my unwavering quest to seek justice just because the hospital has seen I don’t have money, I have been subjected to intimidation and frustrations.”

The grieving father said he is at a loss as to how to reply his four-year-old daughter, who has been asking for her mother.

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“She has been asking for her mom and I still don’t know what to tell her,” he said with tears cascading down his face.

Hospital denies negligence, blames husband for wife’s death

When Theheute contacted the management of R Jolad Hospital, they denied alleged negligence and complicity in the death of the woman.

The hospital insisted that everything medically necessary was done to save Ovwiomodiowho’s wife and son.

Speaking in a virtual meeting attended by the hospital’s Medical Director Abiola Fashina; Chief Operating Officer, Mr Soji Osunsedo, and the Marketing and Brand communications manager, Ifeoluwapo Ilesanmi on April 26, 2024, our correspondent was told by the Managing Director, Dr Funsho Oladipo, that standard protocols and procedures required for care during labour were provided.

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While admitting that the wife lost a lot of blood during delivery, he blamed Ovwiomodiowho’s religious belief against blood transmission for the unfortunate death, noting that blood was not given to the woman after the surgery.

He explained, “Between you and I, we know that in childbirth, one important thing that can happen and throw everybody into a panic state, but which can still be remedied, is blood loss. And when there’s blood loss, you have to replace it, especially if the loss is much. There’s nothing that replaces blood.

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“But we had been given a strict instruction against blood transfusion because Prince and his family belong to the Jehovah’s Witness religious group and they don’t allow blood transmission.

“And this, you know and I know, everybody knows that if so much blood is lost and no replacement, there’s nothing one can do.

“So, the question of not having adequate manpower to take care of what the wife had is not true.

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“The hospital is well equipped with personnel and other things; we have consultant gynaecologists and other professionals. It’s very unfortunate that this happened because we have always provided care to the best of our knowledge and best of practice.

“And such a scenario has never happened in the hospital for the period that we’ve been running it.

“The hospital is a source of joy to many homes, taking care of the needs of the people, the poor and the rich.”

When asked if the hospital used torchlight during surgery, Oladipo noted, “I have just told you the main reason why this loss occurred. I mean, it’s just like Panadol would take care of your headache and if you refuse to take Panadol, the headache will still be there. It’s just simple and very unfortunate.”

On the allegations that the hospital did not release the placenta and ruptured uterus, the hospital Managing Director explained, “If the corpse was alleged to have been kept by us, then we agreed that the uterus and the placenta were also with us.

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“You see, it was so bad, we had to put the placenta, the uterus, we had to wrap everything neatly together because they did not want to take the corpse that night. They came so many hours after the incident to take the corpse. And everything was wrapped with the placenta, the resected uterus and the corpse, and we gave it to them.”

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