By Faith Enang, Morayo Koku, Melvina Chikezie, and Bamidele Daniel
As part of a nationwide response to the effects of brain drain in the medical profession, the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos (CMUL) plans to admit up to a hundred per cent more students in the coming years.
The Provost of CMUL, Professor Adewale Oke, who revealed this, said the management has been communicating with the College to ascertain the possibility of a 100% increase in the number of students admitted each year.
“We got a letter from the management two weeks ago, specifically from the Director of Academic Planning, Professor Ilori, who sent a few papers to us to talk about what capacity we have right now and how we intend to teach new students who would be doubled,” he said.
Oke, however, noted that the correspondence so far has been about the “possibility of doubling” and that the college is looking to see how it can increase staff, accommodation, and other necessary facilities and equipment to meet the proposed increase in student population.
To accommodate the proposed increase in student population, the Provost announced that the college has contracted a private company to build a 420-bed hostel accommodation before the year ends.
Speaking on the issue of employing or retaining more staff, he said, “Staff is a problem because, throughout 5 to 6 years, we have been losing staff to the “Japa syndrome” (relocating abroad), and if I remember right, members of staff have gone for one reason or the other.
“Some departments have very few members of staff left but we will manage. If we can’t double, we will look for a way to add up maybe 50% more. But we are filling the forms now, trying to address the issue to see whether we can accommodate a hundred per cent increase in our students.”
He spoke extensively on the “Japa syndrome” affecting the medical profession, saying,” The greatest problem that the medical healthcare system in Nigeria is facing is the “Japa syndrome” (relocating abroad)… The government is trying to stop that but the government cannot control anybody’s actions.
“Now the government is talking about increasing the number of healthcare professionals that we are training; in fact, doubling it. Hopefully, we will, but even if we double it and train more people, there has to be a way to make them stay. I hope that there would be something more that the government would do to ensure that those healthcare professionals do not leave the country.”