June 16, 2021: Less than 200 trained plastic surgeons are currently licensed to practice in Nigeria, inadequate for the country’s over 200 million population, experts say.
By this figure, one plastic surgeon is licensed to cater for over 100,000 Nigerians, forcing an unintended prioritization of cases by Professionals, Dr. Simon Yiltok, a Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the University of Jos, said, Tuesday.
“The few plastic surgeons on ground are inundated with more life-threatening conditions, with no space for elective or cosmetic procedure, said Yiltok at his inaugural lecture in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.
Poor funding and low manpower training, Yiltok said is responsible for the shortfall, but Government has solution, he said. “Government should increase funding of the health sector to at least 4% of the annual budget,” Yiltok said.
Last year, Officials cut the country’s basic healthcare funding by 43% from its original 2020 budget to 25.6 billion naira ($71 million). This was part of emergency adjustments to cope with export restrictions caused by covid-19. But the sector has not faired well in previous budgets either. According to Reuters, basic healthcare has received at least 1% of Nigeria’s annual consolidated revenues fund, which makes up part of the pool for the yearly budget and has been hit by lower oil revenues.
Increased funding, Prof. Yiltok hopes will produce “well equipped” and functional healthcare centres, to provide “excellent” plastic surgery to victims of burns, among others, and aid early detention of cancer and related ailments, said the University don.
Prof. Yiltok’s lecture themed “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Giving life a lift” held at the multipurpose hall of the University of Jos, was applauded by the University authorities.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Sabastine Maimako encouraged other Professors to initiate similar lectures and influence positive change in society.