… Calls for establishment of universities of medicine
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has warned Abia State Government against any plan to retire Medical Doctors in the Ministries who have served for eight years as directors but are yet to reach their retirement age.
National President of NMA, Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah at a press conference in Umuahia in commemoration of the 2023 Physicians’ Week, vowed to resist such move.
He advised that doctors in Ministries affected by such policy should rather be deployed to hospital for clinical services.
NMA argued that the policy which recommended that civil servants should proceed on compulsory retirement after servicing for Directors for eight years, does not apply to medical doctors in clinical service.
“Plans by Abia Government to retire doctors before their due age should be dropped. Abia should not retire doctors they don’t even have.”
NMA called for the establishment of more Universities of Medicine to cater for the ever-increasing number of candidates seeking admission into medicine and surgery in Nigeria universities.
The medical body called on Government to invest more in the training of medical personnel to halp take care of the country’s health needs.
Meanwhile, the NMA has called for the investigation of the quality of medical education offered to Nigerians studying medicine in Ukraine.
NMA which expressed concern over the inability of some foreign -trained doctors to pass licensing exam, warned against lowering the standard to accommodate such ill- trained doctors.
“Those trying to foist ill-trained graduates on Nigeria as doctors are only making the treatment of a disease worse than the disease,” he said.
“NMA wishes to denounce the persistent attempt by certain individuals and bodies to interfere with regulation of medical education and standards especially as it relates to board licensing of foreign trained medical graduates.
“We have reviewed in detail the processes and content of these exams and we make bold to say that any medical graduate that fails them should be humble enough to seek help and not engage in brazen arm-twisting and blackmail.
“We stand with the MDCN on this and encourage the Registrar to remain undaunted as no one can intimidate him while we watch.
“As stated in the Physicians’ Pledge, we shall do all within our power to ‘defend the honor and noble traditions of medicine.’ We wonder why it is only the medical profession that faces this onslaught? Other courses are also read in Ukraine, Sudan, Egypt, Belarus, etc.
“Why must medicine be forced to accept all and sundry to practice whether qualified or not. If our government does not value the life of Nigerians then the NMA does, and shall insist on not unleashing terror on Nigerians by licensing unqualified medical and dental graduates.
“Those that pass the licensing exams are not aliens. If you cannot pass then seek help and try again. We wish to especially call on our beloved National Assembly to resist being used under any guise to compromise the quality of healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
“If Nigerian trained doctors and dentists are poorly trained, they won’t be in high demand worldwide. Our government should immediately investigate the quality of medical education being offered to our children in Ukraine. Let us stand up in defense of the health of an average Nigeria.”
The medical body frowned at the plans by the Federal Government to stop funding MDCN from next year, describing the plan as “ill-conceived which can only lead to disaster.”
“The job of MDCN which is regulation of medical and dental practice is so important that funding her by government is appropriate. If we stop funding the MDCN, I wonder who we want to do it? Probably the doctors and dentists will take over funding a body that regulates and may punish them if necessary. Let us remember that he that pays the piper may dictate the tune. We call on our dear government to continue to fund MDCN in the interest of the health and well-being of our citizenry.”
“The progress towards payment of slightly improved salary to our members is just too slow. We are using this opportunity to call on government to immediately commence the payment of the recently reviewed CONMESS and CONHESS salary structures with their arrears and also the Accoutrements allowance for medical doctors and dentists.
“I hope there won’t be need for us to engage in another round of agitation for the implementation of what has been circularised since July 2023. Let’s make hay while the sun shines.
NMA which decried the rate of kidnapping of doctors in the country, and urged Abia and Cross Rivers State Governments to step up efforts to rescue some kidnapped doctors still in captivity since last year in their states.
“The menace of kidnap of doctors/dentists and their relatives have become a daily event to the point of desensitisation. The government and our fellow citizens are no longer moved by our plight because all we see is lip service.
“We and our relatives have lost our fundamental right of freedom of movement and our government and society are just moving on.
“Let me also remind the government of Cross River State that we are still awaiting the return of Prof. Ekanem Philip Ephraim. To Abia State government, we are still waiting for information on the whereabouts of Prof. U.U. Iweha. We will not stop asking. Kidnap and insecurity, I must tell you are now major causes of medical brain drain and we call for action not rhetoric.”