One pathologist is catering to the medical needs of 500,000 Nigerians, the President of the West African Division of the International Academy of Pathology (WADIAP), Prof Edwin Kwame Wiredu, has said.
He stated this yesterday during the joint 3rd African Assembly of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP), and the 14th conference of the Anglophone (WADIAP) in Abuja.
A pathologist is a medical doctor who specialises in the diagnosis of medical conditions and diseases using laboratory tests and techniques.
Wiredu said the shortage of manpower in pathology in the country is a big gap to close.
He said the situation is further worsened by the massive brain drain in the health sector with many young pathologists leaving the country for greener pastures.
He said the major problems affecting the practice of pathology in Nigeria and other countries in Africa are lack of personnel and lack of finance.
He said, “If we want pathology to go at the pace we want it to go, we need to have all the tools that we need for training.
“Technological improvement will make it even more difficult for Africa to train more pathologists because the tests that are required are more sophisticated and the equipment required now is more expensive.
“If we have not been able to cope with the old technology, then new technologies are going to make it almost impossible for us to catch up.”
The Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, Prof. Saad Ahmed urged medical laboratories in the country to digitalise their services. He said the benefits include accurate results, reduced turnaround time, making the work of pathologists much easier, and offering quality care for patients.
Ahmed said efforts are ongoing to develop forensic pathology, saying it would go a long way in helping the judicial system in Nigeria including the police and the Ministry of Justice.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Daju Kachollom, said only Lagos State has a forensic laboratory in the country.
She called on young medical professionals to reduce the ‘ japa’ syndrome, adding that the federal government was working towards repositioning the health sector.