NAF Commissions Medical Science School, Aviation Medicine

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, 26 October 2019, commissioned the NAF School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine (NAFSMSAM) at the NAF Base, Kaduna. The School, which has 3 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 services. The School is also expected to organize upgrading and refresher courses for various categories of NAF Medical Services personnel aimed at exposing them to global best practices in aviation medicine.

In his remarks during the commissioning ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, expressed his delight, describing it as a milestone in the history of the NAF. The CAS recounted that upon his assumption of office in July 2015, he resolved to improve the welfare services for NAF personnel, which he perceived as a major requirement in the development of human capacity for enhanced operational performance. According to him, while the NAF was being restructured for efficient service delivery over the last 4 years, there had been series of infrastructural improvements aimed at repositioning it for more effective and efficient employment of Air Power. “The infrastructural developments of the Service necessitated the establishment of new hospitals and medical centres across the country to provide adequate medical support for NAF operations as well as members of host communities”, he added.

Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the School would, no doubt, help in bridging the manpower requirement gap as well as add significant value in enhancing the human capacity of the Medical Services, thereby ensuring NAF personnel are healthy and safe to effectively discharge their duties. He noted that even before commissioning, the School had commenced training activities and, as such, has been discharging some of its assigned roles and responsibilities. According to the CAS, in August 2019, the School churned out the first set of students for A1 upgrading courses for NAF pharmacists and medical laboratory technicians. It has also organized 2 streams of refresher courses for NAF nurses and an orientation course for NAF’s newly commissioned officers of the Medical Specialty. Additionally, he revealed that the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria had recently granted the School accreditation to train nurses. Air Marshal Abubakar disclosed that the School was therefore ready to admit its first set of NAF students for training in general nursing.

The CAS stated further that the commissioning of the School and takeoff of the College of Nursing mark the end of the First Phase of the School’s development.He explained that the NAF is ready to partner with relevant professional bodies and councils to gain accreditation to run courses in various areas of need. He emphasized that, beyond the effort made to ensure that the School was commissioned, the NAF has been taking other measures to motivate its medical personnel. He revealed that the Service has sponsored a number of medical personnel on courses and conferences locally and abroad. “I have also approved for the Service to take over the payment of professional licensing fees of medical personnel”, he disclosed.

During his welcome address, the Chief of Medical Services (CMS), Air Commodore Gideon Bako, appreciated the CAS for his vision and foresight in establishing the NAFSMSAM. He stated that the School is the flagship of the commitment of the CAS towards enhancing personnel welfare through the provision of quality healthcare. Air Commodore Bako also noted that the School would serve to provide the requisite manpower for enhanced medical services in the NAF, while also driving the reorientation and attitudinal change of medical personnel towards patient-focused service delivery. He recalled that it was under the present CAS that the then Directorate of Medical Services was upgraded to Branch status. He added that the NAF today has 3 reference hospitals and many medical centres upgraded with modern diagnostic and therapeutic equipment for the benefit of NAF personnel, their families and host communities. He therefore used the opportunity to express the gratitude of NAF medical personnel to the CAS for trusting and investing in the Medical Services Branch.

The CMS equally thanked the CAS for recognizing the hard work of NAF Medical personnel by approving the elevation of the Home Matron of the College of Nursing and Regimental Sergeant Major of the NAFSMSAM, Grace Garba, to the enviable rank of Air Warrant Officer (AWO). He noted that AWO Garba was not only the first airwoman to be so elevated but also the first Medical personnel to attain the enviable rank.

In recognition of their past service and dedication to duty, 4 retired NAF Medical officers, in the persons of Air Vice Marshal Saleh Shinkafi, Air Cdre Aisha Abdulahi, Group Captain Olayinka Periera and Group Captain Rakia Omar, had facilities in the School named after them. The well-attended event had the Secretary General Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria as well as the Kaduna State Coordinator of the Council in attendance. Also present were the Director of Nursing Services Kaduna State Ministry of Health as well as many serving and retired senior NAF officers.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force
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ROBUST LOGISTICS SUPPORT: NAF GRADUATES 21 PERSONNEL FROM AVIONICS COMPONENTS REPAIR COURSE

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is continually working to improve the quality and effectiveness of its logistics support systems, towards ensuring high serviceability rate of platforms to sustain the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the Country. In furtherance of these objectives, the NAF yesterday, 24 October 2019, graduated 21 personnel from the Basic Avionics Components Repair Course at the at the Central Avionics, Overhaul and Calibration Centre (CAOCC).

Speaking during the graduation ceremony at NAF Base Kaduna, the Guest of Honour, Air Vice Marshal Musa Mukhtar, Chief of Aircraft Engineering, who was represented by the Director of Production Headquarters NAF, Air Commodore Useni Sylvanus, stated that, since its establishment, the CAOCC had continued to reassure the NAF of its ability to maintain Avionics Components, Electrical and Instrument Systems of all platforms thereby reducing the turnaround time in aircraft operation as well as saving the Country substantial amounts of foreign exchange. He disclosed that the excellent performance of previous graduates of the Centre has improved the capacity of the NAF technical units and enhanced their service delivery. He urged the graduating students to build on the knowledge they had acquired through self-development efforts and independent research. He equally tasked them to be good ambassadors of the Centre by imbibing the attitudes of professionalism and excellence in all they do in order to justify the resources invested in their training.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Commander CAOCC, Air Commodore Sani Rabe, revealed that the Centre began as a product of the CAS’ Vision to promote self-reliance in avionics maintenance and has transformed into a hub of innovation and an important part of the NAF’s human capacity development initiatives. He disclosed that the Course is one in a series of tailored practical oriented in-house trainings, designed by the Centre to improve the technical capacity, output and proficiency of personnel in the NAF. He stated that the Course had exposed the participants to basic electronics principles and practices as well as hands-on troubleshooting and repair techniques of aircraft systems. The Commander thanked the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for giving the Centre the opportunity to contribute its quota towards providing robust logistics support as well as contributing to the entrenchment maintenance culture in the NAF.

The 21 graduating students of the 8-week course comprised 8 male officers, one female officer, 10 airmen and 2 airwomen. One of the highlights of the ceremony was the presentation of awards to graduands who had distinguished themselves during the course. The recipient of the Commander’s award was Sergeant Umar Nasiru while the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command’s (AOC ATC) Award went to Flying Officer Cornelius Benjamin. Flying Officer Samuel Sanni bagged the CAS’ Award for emerging overall best on the Course. The event had the representative of the AOC ATC as well as Commanders and Commandants of co-located NAF Units in Kaduna in attendance.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force