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Minister moves to check “japa” syndrome, enhances sustainable workforce

By Chris Njoku

Prof. Mohammad Pate, Minister of Health and Social Welfare has moved to check the high rate of migration of healthcare workers out of Nigeria, popularly known as the “japa syndrome.”

This was observed with the commencement of a five-day intensive refresher training of over 100 frontline healthcare workers in Cross River.

The five-day training which commenced on Monday, 15th April 2024 but was officially flagged off by Dr Henry Ayuk, Cross River’s Commissioner for Health on Tuesday was part of the initiative of the minister, through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training which focuses on 120,000 healthcare workers in public institutions across the country would enhance the competencies of the healthcare workers in different areas.

Speaking during the flag-off ceremony, Mr Julius Idoko, Coordinator of NPHCDA in Cross River said the training was to build the capacities of health workers across the nation.

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According to him, curbing the continuous exodus of healthcare professionals from the nation was one of the major reasons why the initiative was conceived.

“We said, if we continue to engage and improve the capacity of our health workers, there will be no reason for them to ‘japa’ and that is what we are doing.

“NPHCDA will also provide kits and even stipends to the trained health workers following the response it will get after this training; so, we are not just looking at training alone but the motivation of the health workers,” he said.

Officially declaring the event open, Ayuk said the training was very important for Cross River because of the state’s peculiar health challenge which was the dearth of staff.

He said the training which would not just focus on one item or disease programme would strengthen the skills of the available health workforce in the state and enhance clinical outcomes.

“Apart from the training, the state government was looking at equipping about 450 PHCs in the next year through support from the Federal Government, World Bank and Governor Bassey Otu’s medical programme,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Vivian Otu, Director General of Cross River’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRPHCDA) while commending NPHCDA, said the trained workforce in the state, would cascade the training to the new health workers that would be recruited soon in the state.

Other organisations that were present in the 5-day training of healthcare workers in Cross River include the World Health Organisation (WHO) University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), the United Nations Children’s Fund, President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) among others.

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