Amaka Nnena, a 28-year-old pharmacist who recently started her three-month maternity leave, found herself yearning for meaningful engagement during her time off.
“As a practicing pharmacist who enjoys interacting with and counseling clients, I became bored after spending a month at home. I needed a way to stay engaged and continue practising when my baby, Rejoice, was asleep or when there was less to do,” she said.
Also, Akin Ahmed, a 43-year-old doctor running a large hospital in Ibadan, shared his own staffing woes. “Finding doctors, including dentists, gynecologists, physiotherapists, and general practitioners, willing to commit long-term to my hospital is not only expensive but nearly impossible,” he lamented. “I have reached out to Nelson, my medical school roommate currently practicing in Lagos, but the distance, whether by air or road, takes a toll on him. It’s becoming increasingly challenging to explain this situation to my patients.”
Staffing woes in the Nigerian healthcare sector have become a shared concern among employers and employees alike. The sector grapples with a shortage of skilled professionals, coordination issues, and salary and welfare challenges, which have prompted many healthcare practitioners to seek opportunities abroad, leaving gaps in the local workforce.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) reported that despite the annual graduation of approximately 3,000 to 3,500 doctors from medical colleges, a substantial portion of them remains unemployed. In recent years, doctors and nurses have faced an underemployment rate of around 65 percent, worsening the staffing crisis.
In response to these challenges, ProLocums, a healthcare staffing platform, has launched a healthtech product aimed at revolutionizing healthcare staffing in Nigeria. The platform seeks to connect healthcare professionals with locum opportunities that align with their expertise and availability, offering them flexibility and career advancement. The service extends beyond immediate communities, enabling practitioners to work in areas with the greatest need.
Feyi Adeyemi, a healthcare practitioner and the CEO of ProLocums, shared his enthusiasm about the platform’s potential impact: “We are excited to introduce ProLocums to the Nigerian healthcare community. Our platform is designed to empower healthcare professionals by providing them with convenient and efficient access to locum opportunities that align with their expertise and schedules.”
The key features of the ProLocums platform include intelligent matchmaking, a seamless user interface, calendar management for scheduling flexibility, reliability, and transparent communication between healthcare professionals and facilities.
During the platform’s launch event, a panel discussion featured Bunmi Olugbeja, founder and MD of Primeah (Pharmacy) Nigeria Ltd, alongside Feyi Adeyemi. Olugbeja highlighted the platform’s potential to improve access to healthcare talent in underserved areas, reduce costs, and increase flexibility in employment. She also stressed the benefits of technology in connecting professionals and employers.
“As a multi-store owner, I don’t need to search for a full-time pharmacist because I can access a larger talent pool of talents and allocate time to them. It will help with flexibility of employment and reduce the cost of hiring full-time staff.”
Adeyemi, further emphasised the transformative impact of technology on healthcare employment, stating, “Tech blurs the line between job employees and employers in the Nigerian healthcare sector. ProLocums then opens you up to jobs in locations you’ve not been before. It brings ease of connectivity and productivity. Also, health talent employers can negotiate the price rate of doctors or talents, give feedback and reviews of their employees.”