The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has threatened to embark on strike if the National Universities Commission (NUC) did not withdraw it’s circular to Nigerian Universities on compulsory postgraduate training for clinical sciences.
National Universities Commission through a circular dated 24th December 2019 had directed Vice-Chancellor of Nigerian Universities and the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College that doctors teaching students in the universities must have PhD to qualify them for the job, noting that residency training leading to the possession of fellowship was not enough to qualify them to teach medical students in the university.
It, therefore, advised doctors that have undergone residency training to enrol for PhD Programme to qualify them to teach in medical schools adding that the prerequisite does not apply to doctors who want to limit themselves to clinical practice.
Addressing newsmen over the development in Jos, Plateau State, the President of MDCAN, Professor Kenneth Ozoilo, said the Association would not hesitate to withdraw it’s services for medical undergraduate if the NUC did not withdraw the circular on or before 24th February 2020 adding that the NUC directive was more of punitive measure than it’s position to improve medical education delivering in Nigeria.
“MDCAN will first withdraw services from teaching undergraduate medical students from the 24th of February, 2020. Then it will be followed with withdrawal from teaching doctors undergoing postgraduate training before it will finally withdraw services entirely from the health sector if NUC fails to withdraw the letter.”
Professor Ozoilo explained that the tedious residency training that lasts for a minimum of six years was equivalent to PhD degree, and should be considered as one adding that consultants having passed through residency do not need PhD to effectively train the students.
He added that the residency training has both academic and research components which makes it sufficient for practice and training of medical students.
“We agree that PhD is a highly respected degree; we don’t have issues with that, but it should be by choice for doctors that have completed their residency programme, and should not be made compulsory for them because of the peculiarity of medical training. Acquiring PhD is no longer valuable in the training; it is more of face value and cosmetic.
“We have written to NUC to this effect, expressing all these concerns, but they did not even deem it fit to acknowledge our letter not to talk of responding to it. That was what led to the ultimatum of 24th of this month.
“No university will employ you to teach clinical disciplines if you have not done residency training, because you have to be hands-on-patients in training the students. Therefore MDCAN rarely embarks of the strike, but the NUC circular will be compelling us to do this, but it can still be averted if NUC will do the needful.”
Professor Ozoilo who said some Vice-Chancellors have started the implementation called on all well-meaning Nigerians to intervene to avert the strike.