MEDICAL ASSESSMENT EXAM; PARENTS SEEKS SENATE INTERVENTION, ADG SACK.
The ongoing logjam between the Medical Dental Council of Nigeria and parents of failed students of the Medical Assessment Examination seems not to end soon as the parents of the failed students call for level playing ground for their children.
The parents of the failed students speaking to Journalist at a forum of the Nigeria Union of Journalist today said the Acting Director General of Medical Dental Council of Nigeria, Dr Tajudeen Sanusi intentionally failed their wards.
Dr Tajudeen Sanusi was said to have accused the international medical students of importing degrees into the country. He was also said to have predicted the number of those who will pass the examination to be 200 students while 689 students sat for the examination, 437 students failed.
The spoke person for the parents of the failed Students Mr Sadeeq Kassin addressing the Journalist in a press briefing said this is not an attempt to challenge the powers of the MDCN as constituted. Nor is it an attempt to protect or pass candidates who ‘failed’ an exam. It is also not an attempt to join issues with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). The press briefing is in continuation of their push to get justice for their children and for government to redress anomalies and irregularities that characterized the last training and assessment examination of foreign trained Doctors which took place at University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital on 15th and 17th November, 2017 superintended by the Ag Registrar of the MDCN Dr T. Sanusi acting as a sole administrator without a council.
The statement was prepared, signed and delivered to the Hon. Minister of Health, The Senate and the House of Representatives by parents of the aggrieved Doctors and the young Doctors themselves. Suffice to add that these Doctors are Nigerian youths trained in some of the best medical institutions in Europe, America, Asia, Middle East and African countries.
Speaking to Journalist at the press breifing, the parents said the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria among other functions as set out by the Act establishing the Council, is to register and licence all Medical and Dental Practitioners in Nigeria. This includes all foreign trained Doctors and Dentists. It is in view of this fact that the MDCN organizes an induction course of 16 weeks duration to acquaint the newly graduated Doctors who trained abroad on tropical diseases and operational procedures in medical practice in Nigeria twice a year. At the end of this period, an assessment examination is conducted, where successful candidates are consequently inducted and listed on the register of Medical Practitioners in Nigeria with the licence to practice. You are aware also that the 16-weeks programme are usually conducted rotationally in Teaching Hospitals across the country with the last at UITH.
However, the last two outings conducted by the Acting Registrar, Dr Sanusi leaves much to be desired because it was characterised by bias, vendetta, outright favouritism and intimidation. Feedback obtained from our children (the new Doctors) that participated in the last training and assessment examination at the UITH, put to question the credibility of the assessment examination and the result therefrom.
The new Doctors were also chastised, harassed and intimidated by Dr. Sanusi at every given opportunity who often told them that their training in foreign land was nothing but a charade and a statement of the wealth associated with their parents irrespective of whether they were funded by their various states and Federal Governments; philanthropists, corporate institution, technical aids and sheer personal efforts etc. One of the foreign trained Doctors, an epitome of courage and never say die attitude, a female, had to work during holidays, struggling through thick and thin, so as to be able to fund her medical degree. Perhaps you will personally want to hear her story.
During one of his visits to Ilorin supposedly for an interactive session with the leadership, directing staff of UITH and the young Doctors, something unethical occurred. Dr Sanusi was recorded on an electronic medium as calling the Doctors incompetent (even when the assessment examination had not been conducted, nor their competence tested in practical sessions in hospitals), that the foreign Universities are manned by unscrupulous people whose interest was just in the tuition paid by Nigerians, thereby sending out quack Doctors back to Nigeria! He added that most of the foreign trained Doctors wouldn’t have been admitted to study medicine or dentistry in Nigeria going by their WAEC/High School results, hence they went abroad.
No student gains admission overseas without his high school result/WAEC satisfying the requirements to read Medicine not only in Nigeria, but anywhere in a recognised University in the world. What more, and without their results being attested to by the Federal Ministry of education. But when spaces are very limited in Nigerian Universities, we believe no child should be left at home endlessly, waiting for admission that will not come. Such a child has the right to pursue his/her dream elsewhere, once the opportunity presents itself.
All of these foreign trained Doctors registered with MDCN and UITH before starting the programme and they have files containing all their results.
Such a statement coming from no less a person than the Ag. Registrar of a regulatory body like the MDCN is not only unfortunate but worrisome, taking into cognisance the fact that these young Doctors attended and graduated from world class Universities that are duly certified by WHO and EPIC.
Again, the Ag. Registrar was alleged to have changed the original result that passed about 500 from the total number of 696, and later reduced the 500 to 243 with no justifiable reason. In addition, the cost of the 16 weeks programme was hiked from N75,000 to N130,000 with no reasons adduced for the increase. This is not a marginal increase but almost a 100% increase. Embarrassingly, we were told that the classroom accommodation/lecture hall meant for 150 persons maximum, as per NUC Standard was used for 696 Doctors that came from an environment where you hardly have more than 50 persons in a lecture hall complete with all modern technological teaching aids and gadgets. In addition, often no fuel was supplied to UITH to run the generators, as it was said that the Ag. Registrar informed them that there was no money to purchase diesel to power the generating set. HE only made available N5m to the UITH towards the allowances of the consultants and other expenses. The Doctors made their own arrangement to get needed light to study. This made learning condition very unbearable for the doctors as distinct from the environment they were trained. The question then is what was the N130, 000 per doctor meant for? Dr Sanusi you may recall realised a whooping N91.4m for the exercise.
Apart from the overcrowding in the lecture hall, there was also overcrowding in the practicals/clinicals, where more than 50 Doctors are attached to a consultant. Coming from an environment where a maximum of 5 Doctors are attached to a consultant for such an important exercise, it is clear what Ag. Registrar Sanusi intends to achieve.
It is on record that while in Ibadan for the induction of 124 Doctors trained by the University of Ibadan, the Ag. Registrar, Dr Sanusi was quoted to have said: “parents who want their wards to read medicine and dentistry should ensure that they attend well established local medical schools, where the training is tailored…” and he went further, “….when they come in and we organised assessment examination for them, we start wondering if they are medical doctors or dental surgeons…..Probing further, you will discover that they do not have the pre-requisite qualification to enter medical and dental school in Nigeria.” Ilorin was Dr Sanusi’s second outing as Ag. Registrar of MDCN. The first being Lagos. He made it sound like it is the case since the advent of MDCN.
Alas! He failed to inform his audience on how he will ensure that adequate spaces are made available in Nigerian Universities to qualified students desirous of studying Medicine and qualifying as Doctors to help their communities and generally participating in nation building. It is no longer news that vacancies to study Medicine in Nigerian Universities are not just limited, but almost restricted, resulting in repeated yearly backlog.
The young Doctors were compelled to state through a questionnaire how much they paid as tuition fees in the University they attended abroad.
Furthermore, we were told that the programme had neither a recognised syllabus nor curriculum. The areas covered were on tropical medicine alright, but to the chagrin of the doctors, not even a single question was asked to test their knowledge of what they learnt during their stay in UITH. This is a clear and wanton act of high handedness orchestrated to achieve a pre-determined goal(s).
A day before the assessment examination, the Doctors were reliably informed that Dr Sanusi said only about 200 of them will make the pass list. This was already a mind-set pronouncement and a confirmation of his earlier threat that he would use his tenure as Ag. Registrar of MDCN to discourage parents from sending their children abroad to study medicine (and there are no enough spaces at home to accommodate them). This according to him was going to be discussed at management level for consideration and adoption.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the press is this not an infringement on the fundamental human rights of these budding doctors and the upcoming ones that would want to jump on such an opportunity to study overseas once it present itself? No. May be it is better they stay at home doing nothing waiting for an admission year-in year-out for an admission that will certainly not come. Perhaps that is what Ag. Registrar Sanusi wants.
Apparently prior to the day of the assessment examination, Doctors were asked to report for the examination by 7.30am for the examination to commence at 8.00am, which they did. But shockingly the examination did not commence until around noon. This gives further credence to the fact that it was a calculated attempt to psychologically traumatise and destabilise the Doctors.
Furthermore, it was also confirmed by the Doctors that the pass list that was drawn in the final analysis contained names of those who came into the programme two weeks to the examination, in some cases even less, and some names arbitrarily removed and replaced. In the meantime, the same MDCN under Ag. Registrar Sanusi says 75% attendance is mandatory to be eligible to sit for the exams. This clearly confirms the lack of transparency of the assessment examination and hence credibility of the result therefrom.
There is also the issue of four Doctors he specifically called out when all of them were already seated, waiting for the examination to commence. This naturally raised suspicion of favouritism in the minds of the remaining Doctors especially that their names appeared in the pass list. These names can be presented to you in private. It is not their fault, so we do not feel it is proper to include their names in this petition.
Apparently when he moved the centre to UITH, Ag. Registrar Dr Sanusi never imagined security, safety and well-being of the Doctors should be among his must-do list. What will happen if his daughter/son or that of relatives were to be among?
The parents of the failed Students demands that there should be a general and comprehensive review of the assessment examination as conducted in UITH on Wednesday, 15th November, 2017 and Friday, 17th November, 2017 and the result therefrom, so as to put paid to the wanton and unwholesome irregularities and myriads of other complains as contained above;
2. That the original log book of attendance signed by each Doctor daily be made available to ascertain the identity and numbers of those that achieved the mandatory 75% attendance vis-à-vis those that were allowed to sit for the assessment examination and were said to have passed the assessment examination by Ag. Registrar Dr Sanusi.
3. That there is the need to ascertain the names and numbers of those duly registered and those who wrote the examination so as to validate the actual number of those who made the first list of 500 vis-a-vis the second list of 243 as uploaded by Ag. Registrar Dr Sanusi and the total number registered;
4. That during pendency of this petition, all issues relating to the last induction training/assessment examination at UITH, including the induction of those supposed to have made the pass list of 243 by Dr Sanusi be put on hold;
5. It may be important to also use the instrumentality of office and administrative bureaucracy to review all issues by concerned parents on the conduct and administration of MDCN so as not to only foster mutual trust between MDCN and its clientele, but to ensure that in future, no foreign trained Doctor went through the mental and psychological agony our young Doctors were subjected to by Dr Sanusi, simply because they want to serve their fatherland.
6. That we support any other fair initiative and decision that the Hon. Minister (in the absence of a validly constituted council) may deem necessary and fit to ameliorate the situation and foster a harmonious relationship between parents, other stakeholders and MDCN.
For indeed no one can claim to love Nigeria better than those who invest their hard earn money to give the best training to those who would lead Nigeria in the nearest future.