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Published On: Wed, Feb 26th, 2020

NUC’s PhD policy: Consultant doctors begin nationwide strike

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From Yusuf Mairiga Shekarau, Jos.

The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has directed its members nationwide to withdraw their services from all universities across the 36 states and the FCT.
The MDCAN in a statement personally signed by its national President, Professor Kenneth Ozoilo, and made available to newsmen Tuesday in Jos said “Our members in all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory have been directed to withdraw their services in all universities whether state or federal, nothing that the withdrawal is total and indefinite.
This is coming weeks after the MDCAN issued an ultimatum to the NUC to withdraw its position on allowing only medical practitioners with PhD. Certificates to deliver lectures in the Nigerian Universities which has elapsed midnight yesterday.
Recall that the NUC in a circular with reference number NUC/ES/138/VOL.63/52 dated 24th of December 2019 and addressed to Vice Chancellors of all Nigerian Universities and the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria stated that “stakeholders and the NUC had unanimously agreed to introduce the PhD programmes in the Clinical Sciences in the Nigerian University System for postgraduate training of interested medical practitioners and for their career progression especially for those in the academia”.
The circular also established grounds for admission requirements, duration and structure for the PhD programme including for those with the full Fellowships of the Postgraduate Medical Colleges.
Challenging the NUC’s position, the MDCAN said, “that in various parts of the civilised world as in Nigeria up till this point, the Residency Training Programme culminating in the Fellowship of the Postgraduate Medical Colleges, is the minimum requirement to practice as a specialist and to teach clinical medicine, stressing that it is the standing structure of medical education worldwide, which prioritises safe patient care over academic and purely theoretical knowledge”.
The MDCAN further argued that PhD alone is insufficient qualification to assume responsibility for patient care, or to teach clinical medicine. It equally holds that for this reason, the universities require clinical lecturers to have the Fellowship of the postgraduate colleges, as well as to practice as specialists (Honourary Consultants) with the Teaching Hospitals in order to be able to teach as lecturers in clinical medicine in the University”. The association stated that at no point has the NUC identified any specific deficiency in the existing structure of medical education that it plans to correct by the imposition of PhD on clinical lecturers.
It said that the implication of the NUC circular is that clinical lecturers would no longer enjoy career progression in the Universities without obtaining a PhD.
While reassuring the general public that they will continue to render professional services to patients in the various public hospitals in the meantime, the MDCAN said It hoped not be pushed to the point where it will have to escalate its action; urging well-meaning Nigerians and the general public to prevail on the NUC and the government, to see reason and retrace its steps.

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