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LUTH Crisis: Reps expose shutdown of five wards amid health worker exodus

Lagos University Teaching Hospital grapples with staffing shortages, closing down vital wards as brain drain crisis intensifies.

In a startling revelation, the House of Representatives Committee on Health has disclosed the closure of at least five wards, amounting to 150 beds, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba. The shutdown is attributed to a severe shortage of health workers, particularly nurses and doctors, highlighting the escalating brain drain crisis affecting the renowned institution.

Committee Chairman Dr. Amos Magaji unveiled the concerning situation after an oversight visit to LUTH, expressing deep concern over the threat posed by the massive migration of health professionals in search of better opportunities abroad. Magaji lamented that the operational wards had to be shuttered due to the absence of health workers, leaving the hospital struggling to meet the healthcare needs of its numerous daily patients.

The ‘japa’ syndrome, as termed by Magaji, refers to the phenomenon of health workers leaving the country in pursuit of more favorable conditions elsewhere. He emphasized that this trend had become a national embarrassment and outlined ongoing efforts to address the root causes and find immediate solutions.

Magaji outlined a multifaceted approach to tackle the brain drain crisis, including interventions from university enrollment to the residency program. While acknowledging that the issue won’t be resolved overnight, he assured that the committee is committed to implementing both short-term and long-term strategies to mitigate the impact.

The committee chairman underscored the need to examine funding, infrastructure, and working conditions for health professionals in Nigeria. He recognized the sacrifices made by health workers and pledged the committee’s dedication to ensuring affordable and accessible healthcare for Nigerians.

In response, Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, called for partnerships between corporate entities and Nigerians to enhance the delivery of quality healthcare. He stressed the hospital’s ongoing efforts to engage in public-private collaborations, especially in areas like cancer management, radio diagnosis, laboratory services, ophthalmology, and dental services. Adeyemo emphasized that such partnerships would play a pivotal role in addressing major challenges facing the health sector.

As the healthcare crisis unfolds at LUTH, the House of Representatives Committee on Health remains committed to finding lasting solutions to the brain drain predicament and ensuring the provision of optimal healthcare services to Nigerians.

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