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How Dr Abayomi & Others Are Helping Prevent Young Doctors From Travelling Abroad Through His Physician Mentorship Program

There has been an out flux of medical doctors from Nigeria to other countries of the world simply because the healthcare system in Nigeria is not working and many doctors feel the heat. The problem of doctor underpayment is also another reason Nigeria is losing her best hands in the field of medicine to other countries. However, somebody is working in the right direction to proffer some solutions to some of the challenges in healthcare by mentoring young physicians across the country right.

Popular American actor, Whoopi Goldberg once said “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” And this is exactly what topmost Nigerian fertility Doctor, Abayomi Ajayi alongside eleven other Nigerians started in November 2019 and has continued till date. Out with an intention to make the practice of medicine better for young Nigerian doctors, the Physicians Mentoring Programme Physicians Mentoring Programme targeted some of the best brains in the field of medicine and attempts to make them become better in their chosen career by getting first hand training, information and access to proper coaching.

After over a year of thorough mentorship and coaching, the first cohort of the Physicians Mentoring Programme had the opportunity of speaking with journalists on Thursday, December 3, 2020, where they explained in details, what they had learnt in the space of 12 months and how the mentorship programme has helped to reshape their career.

The mentoring programme is designed to provide a forum for young medical professionals and aspiring medical leaders to develop an on-going relationship by meeting regularly and discussing matters relating to career development and advancement within an organised and supportive framework.

City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 brings you all you need to know about how young physicians are getting help to solve various problems they are facing in their career.

Meet The Mentees

Slightly over twelve months ago, 12 young doctors across Nigeria had the opportunity to have a career-changing experience. They were like the guinea pigs of this programme but have come out better than they were when they started. The first 12 participants are Dr Caleb Anulaobi from Aba, Dr Ajibike Gbajabiamila from Lagos, Dr Demilade Omoniyi from Ibadan, Dr Yejide Okungbaye from Lagos, Dr Adeola Fashola from Lagos, Adetola Oladimeji from Abuja, Dr Charles Okeke from Lagos, Dr Mariam Al-Hassan from Abuja, Dr Idaraesit Edem from Lagos, Dr Nneoma Ibe from Asaba, Dr Olabiyi Olaniran from Nasarawa and Dr Rosemary Anichukwu from Abuja.

How Has the Physicians Mentoring Programme Impacted Them?

“I have been taking stocks of my life and I realized that the mentorship programme has surpassed my expectations and one of the major things this programme has done to me is that it has made me audacious. The programme was like a lifeline for me because it kept me going during the COVID-19 lockdown. It has helped me relate better with my colleagues and even patients. My mentor and I were just a perfect match and I have enjoyed so much access. Going into the programme, I was so confused about life but now I have so much clarity and she has been able to shed light on some of my grey areas.         I look at me when I started and now and I see a tremendous difference. I am more time conscious now, my leadership skills have improved, I am more audacious and I take work more seriously now. I know think medicine broadly, I don’t think medicine as just clinical but a whole world of its own”. Dr Yejide Okungbaye said.

“For me, prior to even applying for the mentorship programme, I was in a very confused state, my past motivations and interests were taking a back seat to my new discoveries and I was not where I wanted to be. I kept seeing the same problems without a solution and I kept wondering how I was going to go about it. Before now I was not looking in the direction I am now but my contact with my mentor, Mrs Funmi Babington Ashaye MD/CEO Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers Limited made me start looking into health finance, especially health insurance and I feel more confident that it is something I look forward to. I realized that we can’t do much if the money resourced are not being utilized properly and there is still going to be issues of utilization and lack of solution. More problems coming in with every single time and with health finance, I believe that I can be opened up to how to be able to impact utilization especially health insurance. I’m passionate about healthcare for all and that looks like a very key aspect that Nigerians need to utilize to achieve the health coverage that we need for Nigeria. Right now, I can say that I am taking the steps towards starting,” Dr Mariam Al-Hassan from Abuja said.

Talking about what the Physicians Mentoring Programme done to the young doctors professionally, some of them have this to say…

Dr Olaniran Olabiyi, a medical practitioner at the National Defence College, Nasarawa has this to say. “Initially, I would rate myself 70 per cent on the scorecard but after receiving the emotional intelligence coaching session from Ms Maurine, I was able to identify my personality and the gaps I had in the way I handle things. I was also able to identify my leadership pattern and how to manage emotion and people and that has influenced and upgraded my professionalism in the sense that where I work currently, my name is among the top three doctors as rated by the nurses and patients and that has been as a result of the mentoring programme. Secondly, I have leant time management and meeting deadlines in the course of this mentorship programme. My productivity has also increased and from 70 percent, I can rate myself 90 percent.  I have also learnt how to be a problem solver. The Nigerian healthcare system is full of challenges but in the course of this programme, I have learnt that we are here to solve those problems.”

How has the mentorship program changed the perceptions they had in school about medical practices in Nigeria?

“The only thing they thought me in medical school was how to be a doctor. i.e. how to administer drugs, give injections and diagnose. I didn’t learn presentation, life or communication skills or any emotional intelligence skill. This programme has been a journey of relearning and unlearning some things. The training I had as a medical doctor is that I am the boss or the king. But the first rude shock I got after this programme is that medicine is now becoming more patient-centred than doctor centred. The programme has taught me the management part of medicine which many of my senior colleagues do not know.” Dr Yejide Okungbaye said.

“A lot of us were taught to take the next available flight abroad after medical school because this country can’t work. Leaving school, I have learnt you can’t literally leave immediately because you have to get your permanent licence. I understand that a lot of them are saying this out of frustration and I have learnt that there is no place like home, there are loads of opportunities here and we must harness them,” Dr Charles Okeke answered.

How were the mentees recruited?

Bunmi Adeleye, the programme coordinator, revealed that the criteria for recruitment was agreed upon by the mentors who were already on ground before the mentees were recruited. “We were deliberate about the age limit and experience. We advertised through social media and Dr Abayomi’s website and we received applications across the country. There were two stages of interviews. About 200 applications were received before we reduced to the last twelve.

Who Are The Mentors?

The mentors’ list is rich and full. It has Dr Abayomi Ajayi, Fertility Expert, MD/CEO Nordica Fertility Centre, Prof. Bomi Ogedengbe, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Prof. Ebun Adejuyigbe, Dean, Faculty of Clinical Science, OAU, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU). Professor Sade Ogunsola, Deputy Vice Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwarotimi Akinola, Prof. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Dr Abiodun Eke-Aluko, Founder, Premier Hospitals, Lagos, Adekunle Michael Oyegade, MD, Mopheth Pharmacy, Prof Deji Adekunle (SAN) DG, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS).

Also on the list is Mrs Funmi Babington Ashaye, MD/CEO Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers Limited, Chief Mrs. Nike Akande, Renowned Industrialist and Investment Expert, Engr. Nnamdi Agbim, MD/CEO Interkel Group, Lagos.

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