Pediatrics is one of the most sought after medical specialty in Nigerian. generally, pediatricians are doctors that treat newborn babies, children and adolescents. It is a specialized field within the larger practice of medicine, and it requires additional training beyond general medical education.
Pediatrics Specialization in Nigeria
One reason that pediatrics has become a crucial specialization in Nigeria is the high rate of infant and child mortality in the country. Pediatricians are certified doctors that diagnose and treat health conditions which are frequently found in younger folks than adults.
Another factor contributing to the importance of pediatrics in Nigeria is the country’s demographic profile. Population wise, you find a higher value of the country’s population to be adolescents less than 18 years of age. This implies that number of persons who require the attention of a pediatric specialist would be on the increase.
Pediatricians have the necessary expertise to provide this care, from routine check-ups to emergency interventions.
Nigeria has spent heavily in healthcare especially in the area of infancy healthcare and management. A greater bulk of that expenses went into hospital building, medical sensitization programs and many government funded research programs.
This resulted to and increase in interest for the field of pediatrics, with corresponding improvement in child healthcare facilities.
How to specialize in pediatrics in Nigeria
To specialize in Pediatrics in Nigeria, you will need to follow these steps:
1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery: To become a specialist in pediatrics, you must first obtain a medical degree. You can do this by attending a recognized university in Nigeria or another country.
2. Complete a Resident Training Program in Pediatrics: After obtaining your medical degree, the next step is to complete a residency program in Pediatrics. In Nigeria, the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) and West African College of Physicians (WAC) offer residency training programs in Pediatrics.
3. Pass Examinations: To become a certified pediatrician in Nigeria, you must pass the relevant examinations. In Nigeria, the NPMCN or WAC will conduct Part 1 and Part 2 examinations.
4. You must obtain a provisional license to practice after passing your Part 1 exams and a full license after passing Part 2 exams.
5. Select area of specialization: After completing all the process and steps of becoming a licensed pediatrician, the next step is to select a field you’d like to specialize in.
To further buttress this, there are basically three fields pediatricians can specialize in; pediatric6. Join a Professional Association: surgery, pediatric cardiology and pediatric neurology
6. Join a Professional Association: In order to have access to subsequent development and proper inclusion into the field, you would need to join NAP. NAP is Nigerian Association of Pediatricians.
By following these steps, you can specialize in Pediatrics and become a certified pediatrician in Nigeria.
Top Nigerian universities that offer specialization program in pediatrics
Some top Nigerian Universities that offer specialization or residency training programs in Pediatrics include:
1. University of Lagos (UNILAG)
2. Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)
3. University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN)
4. Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)
5. Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM)
6. University of Ilorin (UNILORIN)
7. Bayero University Kano (BUK)
8. University of Benin (UNIBEN)
9. Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD)
10. Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH)
These universities offer residency training programs in pediatrics which lasts for a minimum of 4 years. The programs include both theoretical and practical aspects of the specialty which comprise of in and out-patient care, immunization programs, emergency care, periodic child health assessment, and management of childhood diseases.
Career prospects for pediatrics specialist in Nigeria
Pediatrics specialist in Nigeria can expect several career prospects within the country. Here are some career prospects for pediatrics specialist in Nigeria:
1. Hospital Pediatrics: Pediatrics specialists can work in hospitals to provide clinical care to children from infancy to young adulthood.
2. Private Practice: Pediatrics specialists can also establish their private practice by opening their clinics, and providing medical attention and consultation to children.
3. Academic and Research: There is the opportunity to be involved in research, teaching, and academic work. They can teach and mentor students pursuing a career in pediatrics, conduct research, publish papers and manuscripts.
4. Government Agencies: Government initiatives like primary healthcare centers, community health centers, and schools require qualified and experienced pediatricians, and there are opportunities for pediatricians to be involved in these programs.
5. Non-Profit organizations: Non-Profit organizations like UNICEF, WHO, and various NGOs are engaging pediatricians in promoting child health or working on various projects concerning children’s health and wellbeing.
Overall, Pediatrics is a fulfilling and rewarding career in Nigeria with several opportunities for growth and development as the population of children increases in the country.
Why chose pediatrics as a career path in Nigeria
Here are some reasons why choosing pediatrics as a career path in Nigeria can be a good choice:
1. High demand: There is an increasing demand for pediatricians in Nigeria due to the country’s high population of children, making it an area with various career opportunities.
2. Job security: Because of the high demand for pediatricians, pediatrics can offer job security, which means that employment opportunities are expected to remain stable.
3. Growth opportunities: There are opportunities for pediatricians in Nigeria to specialize in areas like pediatric oncology, neurology, cardiology, and develop expertise in their chosen field.
4. Emotional satisfaction: Pediatrics can be an emotionally satisfying field that offers fulfillment when you see your patients recover from an illness and develop in good health.
5. New challenges and learning: Pediatrics can offer a challenging but exciting career path, with new discoveries and challenges to solve daily in a fast-paced environment.
6. Competitive remuneration: Pediatricians are one of the highest-paid healthcare professionals, with good compensation, and potential for earning a higher salary as they advance in their careers.
If you love working among children, building relationships, and trying to improve their health and well-being, pediatrics in Nigeria might be a good career choice for you.
Pediatrics is a vital and expanding specialty in Nigeria, with the potential to have a large influence on the health outcomes of the country’s young people.
For this promise to be fully realized, the field’s problems, such as a dearth of competent physicians and restricted access to medical treatment in rural regions, must be addressed.
With continued investments in health infrastructure and medical training, Nigeria has the opportunity to become a leader in pediatric care in Africa and beyond.