With increased brain drain currently affecting the Nigerian health sector, Nordica Foundation, through a group of seasoned professionals, has initiated a mentorship programme for young doctors as part of efforts to halt the trend and improve healthcare delivery.
Speaking during the launch of the programme in Lagos recently, the Founder, Nordica Foundation, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, who is also one of the mentors, said the initiative was meant to provide a forum for young medical professionals with less than five years of post-qualification to meet experienced mentors who are ready to discuss their career development with them in an organised and supportive framework.
Members of the mentorship programme include Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun; Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, and Nigeria’s first female Minister of Industry and former President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Nike Akande (CON).
Others include Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Ebunoluwa Adejuyigbe; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof Bomi Ogedengbe; Director General & Chairman, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Abuja, Prof Adedeji Adekunle; and Managing Director, Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers Ltd., Lagos, Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye.
Ajayi said: “The programme is developed to enhance the career growth of young physicians and improve transformative leadership in the medical profession. It is intended to facilitate interaction between mentors and mentees and to enable them explore the great opportunities created when two personalities are paired.
However, our mentors will not superimpose decisions on the young leaders whether or not to travel, but they will lay the options available to them, so they can make informed decisions. The ratio of doctors to patients in Nigeria is ridiculous. Brain drain by doctors and other professionals affect healthcare.”
Ajayi, who is also the Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, said: “We want young professionals to understand that there is a future here in this country. Despite our own challenges, Nigeria has many comparative advantages. I am not against anybody travelling to Canada, United States or anywhere else, but just discover who you are.
“Don’t leave because everybody is relocating. There are challenges everywhere in the world. There are some doctors who left Nigeria but ended up becoming bakers abroad. Sometimes these young ones need someone who can give them those words of wisdom that will help to develop and discover who they are.”
On her part, Ogedengbe said there was a great need for mentorship. Describing brain drain in the health sector as a crisis, she explained that she was involved in accreditations of medical institutions in the country and that there were constant complaints regarding how doctors were leaving the country.
She believed the initiative can stem the tide, pointing out that most of the young physicians leave Nigeria out of frustration.
Babington-Ashaye, said: “You need mentoring for a different purpose and it is important not to walk alone because this mentor will help you review, set goals and achieve it both in short and long term. Most times mentors are successful because they have knowledge and have passed through those phases, so you are not walking alone because they want you to succeed more than them.”