Until recently, like 90% of Nigerian Doctors living in the UK, I chose not to engage with the Medical Association of Nigerian Specialists and GPs (MANSAG). I claimed that I had too little time….and that the British Medical Association would suffice for my trade union engagements. Events led me to change my mind a couple of years ago as I came to realise the futility of my own ignorance. Since then I have grown to immensely respect and admire colleagues that give up their time, resources and energy to represent us.
This is a report from the last Annual Conference in Plymouth, October 2009….by our guest blogger Oge Ilozue…Thanks Oge! We apologise that we are posting this so late
MANSAG held another successful annual scientific meeting hosted by Plymouth, which was apparently the location for the Nigerian Independence negotiations! The theme was Health Service delivery in Nigeria – Role of Nigerians in Diaspora.
The conference kicked off on Friday evening for those of us able to manoeuvre ourselves down to Devon on time. Three informative workshops were held with topics including Mentoring skills, Career change and diversification and the Status of HIV and Malaria control in Nigeria.
Saturday started the main proceedings with the opening session including a short welcome by the Lord Major of Plymouth who stayed for the duration of the morning. Followed was an address by our hard working outgoing president Mr Stanley Okolo. Another important guest was the President of our fellow organisation in America – ANPA who gave a talk on the strategy for health in Nigeria. He outlined the recent conference organised by ANPA held in Abuja earlier this year with contributions from MANSAG and the NMA. He discussed the lack of presence at the conference of the Nigerian health ministry except for a brief appearance by the Minister of Health, and the importance of continued collaboration between our organisations.
The next session included a very inspirational talk given by Dr I Wada who is the MD of Garki Hospital in Abuja and he gave details of his experiences in leading the first public-private partnership (PPP) hospital with all the trials and triumphs. Next was an informative and apt talk by Mr Dayo Ogundayo about how the finance industry sees these PPP initiatives. Then a talk delivered on behalf of the director of Primary health care Nigeria about our role as Nigerians in the Diaspora in helping deliver healthcare, tackling the basics in healthcare delivery and targets such as the MDGs.
During the lunchtime break an exciting impromptu meeting was held with the president elect the secretary elect and all the trainees plus medical students present at the conference of which there were good numbers. This meeting briefly discussed our role as the future of the organisation and our responsibility to spread the message to our peers increasing knowledge of MANSAG to our Nigerian colleagues. We will endeavor to maintain good links with the students and ensure the organisation remains relevant to trainees also with focus on mentoring and professional skills development.
The afternoon session started with a talk by Dr Peter Ozua about his experiences in taking equipment to Nigeria and even providing mortuary facilities. Followed was a talk by Mr J Akoh – Renal transplant surgeon – about the need to also ensure specialist services – all much needed – are not forgotten in the drive to improve healthcare delivery. During this session our keynote speaker and his entourage who had flown in from India that morning arrived – Professor Babatunde Osotimehin – Minister for Health. The Minister gave an eloquent address on the state of healthcare delivery in Nigeria currently, gave some of his thoughts on the reasons for the failures and his plans for the future. This was followed by a lively question and answer session.
The annual AGM for paid members of MANSAG followed which discussed several constitutional changes and swore in the new executive council.
Find all the official pictures here.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead