A don, Foluso Lesi has called for a culture of rewarding excellence as a way of reducing brain drain within the medical professions in Nigeria.
He also challenged stakeholders on building the capacity of university teachers for teaching, research and leadership.
“The current structure where people get the same remuneration irrespective of work output demotivates hard workers and dis-incentivises workers,” he said.
Aside regular salaries, he believed that “a system should be in place where outstanding staff are given special consideration for awards and access to grants.”
Lesi who is the Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos was speaking on Thursday, 11th April, 2019 at the maiden edition of the Professor Afolabi Olumide Annual Lecture Series in Lagos.
The lecture was organised by the Lagos State branch of the Lagos State University Alumni Association in honour of Olumide, the first Vice-Chancellor of the institution.
Lesi who was a student of Olumide commended the organisers for honouring the man who he described as “a multifaceted and multi-talented man driven by the fear of God, the simple nobility of his ancestry, the pursuit of excellence, the love of humanity and the love of family.”
Speaking on the theme of the lecture, “Rethinking medical education: An imperative for improving healthcare in Nigeria”, Lesi lamented the decline of Nigeria in health indices over the years compared with some other African countries.
According to him, Nigeria experienced a 48 percent to 40 percent rate in infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate respectively between 1984 and 2016 compared with 61 percent and 50 percent in Ghana, and 80 percent and 78 percent respectively in Rwanda.
He also attributed the inadequate manpower in the medical professions to the exit of trained personnel from the profession due to economic reasons and brain drain as a result of better offers abroad.
The professor therefore called for a paradigm shift in financing healthcare education, improving the quality of medical graduates and reducing brain drain.
He said, “The current financing model for public tertiary education is unsustainable if excellence is our goal.
“The current situation where we are benchmarking ourselves on mediocrity rather than on excellence and quality will not augur well for national development and global competitiveness.”
On the quality of medical graduates, he highlighted the shortage of postgraduate training positions compared to the number of graduates interested in these as graduates largely depend on paid employment. This, he said, had given room for quacks to thrive.
He challenged governments and private individuals to invest in technological innovations to improve teaching and learning while there should also be an evolvement to student-centred curricula.
Lesi also called social consciousness coupled with favourable policies and incentives as a motivation for professionals home and abroad to invest their resources and knowledge in improving health care in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun disclosed to EduCeleb.com that the choice of the lecture topic was because it resonates with present realities and relates with the profession of the honoured Professor Olumide.
He said the institution of the lecture fits in the agenda of rewarding excellence.
“We want to start getting people to understand the ethics of ‘when you act right, system will recognise you in your lifetime’.
“What has happened here would be an encouragement for other who are acting right that when you act right, a day will come that the institution will remember, recognise and honour you.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion and Minister of State for Education, Dr Osagie Ehanire proposed locally driven solutions.
In his words, “Prioritization may need placing less emphasis on some areas that are not relevant to our environment. However, best practices from all parts of the world may be use to create a fit for purpose system, workforce and strategy.”
“It will be useless to copy hook line and sinker what work in another country with the erroneous belief that and mindset, beliefs and strategy are unique and different.
“We can solve these 3 problems by giving thesis and instruction in the native local languages of our community rather than pursuing the so-called international standards and designing a curriculum that addresses as local questions which are begging for answers.”
Aside the Olumide Lecture, EduCeleb.com gathered that the alumni which has also supported the university with Internet facilities and some scholarship funds would also be naming and organising another lecture series in honour of the second VC of LASU, Professor Jadesola Akande.
The LASU Alumni Association Chairman in Lagos, Mr Omolola Satar said that the association was hoping to do more as more members commit to its course.
Former Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Mrs Jumoke Oduwole were among the numerous dignitaries at the event.