Medical expert decries dearth of plastic surgeons in Nigeria

Prof. Simon Yiltok of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery unit, Department of Surgery of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), has decried the paucity of plastic surgeons in Nigeria.

Yiltok, the incumbent Provost of the of Health Sciences, University of Jos, said this while delivering the 96th Inaugural Lecture series of the institution on Tuesday in Jos.

The lecture series has the theme “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Giving Life a Lift”

According to the , there are less than 200 registered trained plastic surgeons in the country.

He attributed the shortage of experts in the field to poor remuneration, drive for young medical doctors to seek greener pastures in other fields of medicine.

“Generally there are few health practitioners serving the Nigerian populace and this is worse for plastic surgeons.

“There are less than 200 trained plastic surgeons registered to practice in the country with an estimated population of over 200 million.

“As it 2017, the distribution of the 114 trained plastic surgeons in the six geo-political zones of the country.

“For instance, north central has 23, north east, two, northwest, 10, south east, 25, south south, 15 and 29.

“Also, very few medical doctors develop interest in training to specialise in surgery and by extension plastic surgery. They prefer to specialise in other aspects of medicine

“Recently too, there is a surge in many doctors emigrating to greener pastures in the Middle East, Europe, America and other ,” he said.

Yiltok also decried the paucity of infrastructure which has hampered effective service delivery in the plastic surgery field of medicine.

He lamented that most hospitals lack the equipment to pave way for best practice and addressing complex cases.

“There is gross inadequacy of facilities to practice. The hospitals are not well equipped to allow for the best practice,” he said.

He further identified other challenges such as poverty, poor funding of hospitals, and believe , lack of awareness, quackery, complex cases, e.t.c.

Yiltok called for training of more personnel in the field and urged young medical doctors to develop interest in field.

He advised government to a well-equipped and functional centres and increase funding for health facilities that would provide excellent service to the populace in that field of medicine.

He advocated for of a special trust fund to address the challenge of poverty and the inability of patients to meet their needs while taking treatment.

“There is need for a paradigm shift in the remuneration of the workforce and this should be based on the output and complexity of task carried by them.

“There should be more investment in this area that will apply to training and the provision of more facilities,” he advocated

The called for increased sensitisation in the prevention of burns injuries and the services that the plastic surgeon can provide through proper health education.

Declaring the lecture open, Prof. Sebastian Maimako, Vice Chancellor of the University, said the topic was apt.

He said the lecture would contribute immensely to the body of knowledge in Nigeria and beyond, adding that it would also place the university on higher echelon among peers.

“Our university is known and celebrated to be an institution where proper learning and research take place.

“This lecture series is part of our contribution to the growth and development of the society,” he said

Maimako said that the inaugural lecture would be the to be held during tenure as vice chancellor, as tenure would elapse in few days.

He thanked members of the university community for supporting him to succeed and called on them to accord the same to successor. (NAN)