Total health for all in Nigeria 2050 and beyond: Strategies for reforming health professionals’ education


The health indices of a country are influenced by the number and quality of trained healthcare professionals available and their ability to respond to the challenges of societal change. Nigeria, with
numerous challenges, which include population explosion, insecurity, changing epidemiology of diseases, and climate change, is in need of reforms in Health Professionals’ Education (HPE). These reforms in HPE should be geared towards producing healthcare workers who are fit-for-purpose and fit-of-purpose. Such health professionals are needed to address historic and current inadequacies in the health system as well as future challenges. This review highlights the basis of the problems, consequences and reforms needed in HPE in Nigeria to address the changing needs of the society, changing health conditions, and globalization to contribute to the goal of achieving ‘Total Health for All’ as a strategy towards health security by the year 2050 and beyond.

Keywords: Health professionals’ training, health professionals’ education, health security, educational reform,inter professional training

Les indices de santé d’un pays sont influencés par le nombre et la qualité des professionnels de la santé formés disponibles et par leur aptitude à faire face aux défis du changement sociétale. Le Nigéria, confronté à de nombreux défis, dont l’explosion démographique, l’insécurité, l’évolution de l’épidémiologie des maladies et le changement climatique, a besoin de réformes dans le domaine de l’Education des Professionnels de la Santé (EPS). Ces réformes d’EPS devraient viser à former des agents de santé adaptés à leurs besoins et aux besoins. Ces tels professionnels de santé sont nécessaires pour remédier aux insuffisances historiques et actuelles du système de santé, ainsi qu’aux défis à venir. Cette revue met en évidence la base des problèmes, conséquences et réformes nécessaires dans l’EPS au Nigeria pour répondre aux besoins changeants de la société, des conditions sanitaires changeantes et de la mondialisation afin de contribuer à l’objectif de ‘Santé Totale Pour Tous’ en tant que stratégie pour la sécurité sanitaire d’ici 2050 et au-delà.

Mots-clés : Education des professionnels de la santé, formation des professionnels de la santé, reforme éducationnelle, formation interprofessionnels

Correspondence: Professor E.O. Olapade-Olaopa, Provost’s Office, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. E-mail:



Phimister I. Unscrambling the scramble: Africa’s partition reconsidered. Paper presented to the African Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 17 August. 1992. Last Accessed (8 April 2019);sequence=1

Mellanby K. The birth of Nigeria’s university. London: Methuen and Co., Ltd. 1958.

Afolabi MO. Entrenched colonial influences and the dislocation of health care in Africa. Journal of Black and African Arts and Civilization 2011;5(1):229-247.

Olapade-Olaopa EO, Sewankambo N, Iputo JE, et al. Essential professional duties for the sub-Saharan medical/dental graduate: An Association of Medical Schools of Africa initiative. Afr J Med Med Sci 2016;45(3):221-227.

Mullan F, Frehywot S, Omaswa F, et al. Medical schools in sub-Saharan Africa. Lancet 2011;377(9771):1113-1121.

Gao H, Bohn T, Podest E, McDonald K and Lettenmaier D. On the causes of the shrinking of Lake Chad. Environmental Research Letters 2011;6(3):034021.

Greysen SR, Dovlo D, Olapade-Olaopa EO, et al. Medical education in sub-Saharan Africa: a literature review. Med Educ 2011;45(10):973-986.

Frenk J, Chen L, Bhutta ZA, et al. Health professionals for a new century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. Lancet 2010;376(9756):1923-1958.

Olapade-Olaopa EO, Sewankambo NK and Iputo JE. Defining Sub-Saharan Africa’s Health Workforce Needs: Going Forwards Quickly Into the Past Comment on “Non-physician Clinicians in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Evolving Role of Physicians”. Int J Health Policy Manag 2016;6(2):111-113.

Olopade FE, Adaramoye OA, Raji Y, Fasola AO and Olapade-Olaopa EO. Developing a competency-based medical education curriculum for the core basic medical sciences in an African Medical School. Adv Med Educ Pract 2016;7:389-398.

Amalba A, van Mook W, Mogre V and Scherpbier A. The perceived usefulness of community based education and service (COBES) regarding students’ rural workplace choices. BMC Med Educ 2016;16(1):130.

Cueto J Jr, Burch VC, Adnan NA, et al. Acreditation of undergraduate medical training programs: practices in nine developing countries as compared with the USA. Educ Health 2006;19(2):207-222.

van Zanten M. The association between medical education accreditation and the examination performance of internationally educated physicians seeking certification in the United States. Perspect Med Educ 2015;4(3):142-145. doi: 10.1007/s40037-015-0183-y.

Olapade-Olaopa E.O. and TWG members of the National Medical Advisory Committee. Nigeria Undergraduate Medical and Dental Curriculum Template. Bethesda, MD: Health Systems 20/20 project, Abt Associates Inc. Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria, Health Systems 20/20 Project. 2012.

Olapade-Olaopa EO, Baird S, Kiguli-Malwadde E and Kolars JC. Growing partnerships: leveraging the power of collaboration through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative. Acad Med 2014;89(8 Suppl):S19-23.

Yalcin BM, Karahan TF, Karadenizli D and Sahin EM. Short-term effects of problem-based learning curriculum on students’ self-directed skills development. Croat Med J 2006;47(3):491-498.

Marshall TA, Finkelstein MW and Qian F. Improved student performance following instructional changes in a problem-based learning curriculum. J Dent Educ 2011;75(4):466-471.

Burgess A, Roberts C, Ayton T and Mellis C. Implementation of modified team-based learning within a problem based learning medical curriculum: a focus group study. BMC Med Educ 2018;18(1):74.

Kiguli-Malwadde E, Kijjambu S, Kiguli S, et al. Problem Based Learning, curriculum development and change process at Faculty of Medicine, Makerere University, Uganda. Afr Health Sci 2006;6(2):127-130.

Mun KH and Mun KC. Verification of learner’s differences by team-based learning in biochemistry classes. Korean J Med Educ. 2017;29(4):263-269.

Obad AS, Peeran AA, Shareef MA, et al. Assessment of first-year medical students’ perceptions of teaching and learning through team-based learning sessions. Adv Physiol Educ 2016;40(4):536-542.

Gray J, Fana GT, Campbell TB, et al. Feasibility and sustainability of an interactive team-based learning method for medical education during a severe faculty shortage in Zimbabwe. BMC Med Educ 2014;14:63.

Olapade-Olaopa EO, Akute OO, Adeleke D, Akinrinmade JF and Shokunbi MT. Eya Ara fun Alakobere: Anatomy for Beginners (Human and Veterinary). Ibadan: College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. (In Press).

Aina TA. Beyond Reforms: The Politics of Higher Education Transformation in Africa. Afr Stud Rev 2010;53(1):21-40.

Bacdayan P. Finding Win-Win Forms of Economic Development Outreach: Shared Priorities of Business Faculty and Community. Coll Teach 2008;56(3):143-148.