Experts Solicit Review Of Reproductive Health Curriculum In Medical Colleges

Worried by the high maternal mortality rate of the country, stakeholders in the health sector have called for a review of the curriculum of medical colleges to focus on the prevention of reproductive health illnesses.

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Benin, Professor Friday Okonofua disclosed this on Monday, February 26, 2024, while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja.

Okonofua, who is also the Center Leader, African Center of Excellence in Reproductive Health spoke at a 2-day workshop on Reproductive Health Curriculum Review for Integrating Reproductive Health to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical College.

He said they (medical experts in Nigeria) were worried that most of the components that were currently on the country’s reproductive health surround the treatment of condition that leads to death rather than its prevention:

“Today Nigeria is known to have one of the highest rate of maternal deaths (women dying during childbirth) in the world and it hasn’t declined over the years.

“So,we are worried that most of the components that are currently on our reproductive health surround the treatment of condition that leads to death rather than its prevention.

“We believe that before a woman comes to the hospital and is being treated, a lot of problems would have occurred and it is important that our training curriculum; undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum are designed in such a way that students are made to be aware of the way to prevent these issues from occurring that lead to death”, Okonofua said.

The Physician further explained that, ailments that lead to death in Nigeria, do not do the same in other countries because they know how to prevent them:

“A lot of the things that lead to death in Nigeria, don’t lead to death in other countries because they know how to prevent them. And doctors know how to teach women how to prevent them. But here because doctors are not trained on prevention, they wait until patients become sick before they come and by then, much harm would have occurred.

“The major shortcoming is that the current curriculum is not comprehensive enough. It is based mainly on treatment of conditions rather than prevention”, he stated.

According to Okonofua, the main reason behind the clamour for curriculum review was that most of the students were not taught the skills of prevention.

“…Here are many examples we can show to indicate that it is as if doctors are waiting for somebody to be sick before they begin to apply treatment. They (patients) can be so sick that doctors may not be able to treat them. So it is always better to prevent rather than treat them”, he said.

The 2-day workshop held at the headquarters of the National Universities Commission (NUC) had in attendance Deans of Medical Schools, Provost of Medical Schools, Nigeria Postgraduate Medical College, West Africa Postgraduate Medical College, representatives of the Federal Ministry Of Health, Medical and Dental Health Council of Nigeria, NUC as well as undergraduate and postgraduate medical students.

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