The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall, Sadiq Abubakar, on Saturday inaugurated the Nigerian Air Force School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine in Kaduna.
Abubakar said the new school was meant to provide adequate medical support for NAF operations, personnel and members of host communities.
“Upon my assumption of office in July 2015, I made a resolution to improve the welfare needs of NAF personnel being a major requirement in the development of human capacity for enhanced operational performance.
” You would bear with me that while the Service is being restructured for efficient service delivery in the last 4 years, there had been series of infrastructural developments aimed at repositioning the NAF into a highly professional force.
“Today is another milestone in the history of the NAF as we are about to witness the inauguration of the NAF School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine.
He disclosed that the School, which has three colleges within its span of control, is tasked with the initial training of nurses and medical technicians in the allied medical fields such as pharmacy, medical laboratory and preventive health.
He added that the School is also expected to organize upgrading and refresher courses for various categories of NAF medical personnel aimed at exposing them to world best practices in aviation medicine.
“This would increase the manpower requirement as well as add sufficient value in enhancing the human capacity development of the Medical Services thereby ensuring that our aircrew is healthy and safe to effectively discharge their duties.”
He noted that the School, even before commissioning, had commenced training activities and as such has been discharging some of its assigned roles and responsibilities.
“For instance, in August this year, the School churned out the first set of students for A1 upgrading courses in pharmacy and medical laboratory technicians.
“It has also organized two streams of refresher courses for nurses and an orientation course for newly commissioned officers of medical speciality.
“I am equally pleased to note that, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria has recently granted the School accreditation to train nurses.
“I am happy to note that the School is ready to admit its first set of students for training in general nursing. I have no doubt that very soon the other colleges will follow.
“The next phases will involve the construction and full take-off of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences and the College of Allied Medical Sciences.
He added that the NAF was ready to partner with relevant professional bodies and councils to gain accreditation to run courses in its areas of need.
“Currently, there is a dearth of technicians for medical laboratory, pharmacy, X-Ray, physiotherapy and others in the Nigerian Air Force.
“The Service is spending huge sums of money training these cadres of personnel in various institutions across the country.
“The College of Allied Medical Sciences of this School, when activated would take over this responsibility and train our personnel in these vital fields.
” I have also approved for the Service to take over the payment for the renewal of annual practising licences for all medical professionals,” Abubakar said.
Earlier, NAF Chief of Medical Service, Air Cdr. Gideon Bako said this School is the flagship of the commitment of the Chief of the Air Staff towards enhancing personnel welfare through provision of quality healthcare.
Bako disclosed that three new reference hospitals and many medical centres had been built by the chief of air staff, in addition to provision of equipment, modern diagnostic and therapeutic facilities for the benefit of NAF personnel, their families and host communities.
Bako also appreciated the air chief for his vision and foresight in establishing the Nigerian Air Force School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine in 2016.