Prof. Abdulfatai Olokoba of the Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin, has alerted that less than 100 Gastroenterologists serve a population of about 200 million Nigerians in treatment of digestive system diseases.
Olokoba stated this during his paper presentation at the 224th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ilorin (Unilorin).
The presentation was entitled: “Looking Through a Tube to see the World Within the Tube: Experience and Challenges of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in Nigeria”.
He described Gastroenterology as an area of medicine that focus on the health of the digestive system, or the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract as well as the liver.
The don, who teaches in the Faculty of Clinical Science, College of Health Sciences of Unilorin, lamented on the dearth of Specialists in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.
“Similarly, there is dearth of Endoscopy Nurses, Endoscopy Yechnicians, Biomedical Engineers with competence in the maintenance and repair of GI Endiscopes.
“This manpower shortages has been further compounded by brain drain. Some of the factors which have contributed to this are the pull and push factor, lack of job satisfaction, poor work environment and conditions, poor remuneration and insecurity,” he said.
Olokoba observed that Endoscopy equipment is very expensive, adding that available ones are however obsolete.
He postulated that the general underfunding of the health sector below the 15 per cent Abuja declaration of 2001, also affect and partly contribute to inadequate funding of GI Endoscopy services in Nigerian hospitals.
The expert advocated for public private partnership in the provision of GI Endoscopy services in the country.
He also advocated for training and re-training of Gastroenterologists and Endoscopists.