Senior doctors under the aegis of Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) at the University College Hospital (UCH) on Wednesday, said they have stopped teaching medicine indefinitely to protest the National University Commission‘s insistence on introducing PhD for career progression for clinical lecturers in the nation’s universities.
Chairman, MDCAN, UCH branch, Dr Dare Olulana addressing the press on Wednesday said the resolve to embark on the strike was reached after the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum given by its national body to authorities, including NUC to withdraw the circular with reference number NUC/ES/138/VOL.63/52.
The media briefing had in attendance MDCAN’s Vice Chairman 1, Dr Victor Makanjuola, National Association of Resident Doctor, UCH branch, Dr Dayo Willams and executive members of University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association (UIMSA).
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Dr Olulana said the circular on PhD for clinical lecturers was obnoxious and contrary to the practice in the civilised world, where residency training programme culminating in the fellowship of the Postgraduate Medical colleges is the minimum requirement to teach clinical medicine.
He added, “this is because the structure of medical education worldwide prioritise safe patient care over academic and purely theoretical knowledge.”
Olulana stated that although PhD is useful to individuals that chose a voluntary career part in research, it does not significantly translate into improved patient care skills or better ability to teach clinical medicine.
According to him, the NUC policy is without due consideration for the peculiarities of medical education, which is focused on delivering quality patient care in safety and not just the acquisition of paper qualifications that have little or no bearing on practical patients management knowledge or skills.
Dr Olulana stated that adding the burden of compulsory acquisition of PhD qualification for clinical lecturers are superfluous and uncalled for since at no point has the NUC identified any specific deficiency in the existing structure of medical education that it plans to correct by this decision.
He declared, “The implication of the NUC letter is that clinical lecturers would no longer enjoy career progression in the Universities without obtaining a PhD. These categories of people are already highly sought after outside the country and this will further lead to a brain drain of senior doctors.
“The source of powers of the NUC to purport to direct the National Postgraduate Medical College on the structure of the residency training programme is highly questionable, given that this body NPMCN is by its enabling act, exclusively saddled with the responsibility of postgraduate medical education and not the NUC.”
Dr Olulana stated that if MDCAN’s demand is not met, the body may pull out also from professional clinical services to its patients, urging for the intervention of Nigerians and the public to prevail on the NUC and the government to see reason and retrace its steps.