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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nigeria's Dismal Medical Rating

Over the years, it has been contended that there is a drop in the quality of education offered in Nigeria. This situation cuts across all facets of education in the country. Some experts want to believe that the hue and cry over poor education delivery is misplaced but the truth is that the standard of measurement of quality delivery in education cannot only be left for Nigerian assessors to determine but international input in this respect has also gained a measure of ascendancy that is so reputed to be casting aspersions on Nigerian trained students who go overseas for graduate programmes or to find jobs.

For instance, a recent report from the United Kingdom in the Daily Mail notes that some Nigerians have been delisted from medical practice in that country for incompetence. According to the report three- quarters of the doctors struck off the General Medical Council (GMC) register in the past years are foreign trained and that those trained in Nigeria rank second on the list of those removed from the professional register.

The report, however, cites India trained doctors as topping the list of foreign trained doctors struck off the GMC register in the past five years while Egypt-trained doctors occupy the third spot. Also, out of 285 doctors struck off for misconduct or incompetence in the past five years 194 were foreign –trained and that 29 of the 39 removed from the medical register in the past year received their medical degree overseas. In comparative terms , according to the report Hong Kong has the best record with none of more than 700 doctors working in the U.K struck off or disciplined in the past five years. Besides, New Zealand with 600 doctors also have a clean record.

The above scenario paints a grim picture of the quality of training doctors undergo in Nigeria and the situation calls for concerted effort of all stakeholders to brain storm in order to raise and improve the level of medical training offered in Nigeria. The medical profession is critical to the survival of the health sector and all Nigerians are thus affected by the poor products churned out from our medical institutions across the country. In today’s global economy human resources are the most significant and is the pivot around which the economy runs.

It is high time therefore, that stakeholders in the health sector take the matter as one of utmost concern to X-ray the industry and ascertain where things have gone wrong. It is crucial for instance to look at the accreditation being offered the myriad of universities in Nigeria which offer medicine as a course of study. Before now it was only the federal government and the States government that were allowed to run universities. However, that is no longer the case as individuals and corporate bodies as well as religious bodies have now been licensed to establish universities. The idea behind the liberalization was to offer admission spaces to teeming number of aspiring graduates who are unable to get admission into either state or federal university.

Unfortunately, the quality of graduates produced by the universities, particularly the private ones have raised eye-brow among some education experts who have called for overhaul of the teaching methodology. No doubt, the problems are legion where students resort to short-cut approach to passing examination otherwise known as blocking. The problem transcends further to inadequate teaching input, equipment, infrastructure among other facilities that are needed for effective teaching and learning.

If we must surmount the poor quality of education not only in the area of medical practice but in all facets of study in the universities, the current system of education in Nigeria must be reappraised to meet global his expectations. In this connection the National Universities Commission as the regulator and accrediting body of universities in the country, the federal ministry of education and the Nigerian Medical Association with respect to doctors have significant input to make.

Against this background, The Nigerian Observer calls on both Houses of the National Assembly and their Education Committees to set up enquiry as a first step in the goal to overhaul the education industry, because it is only by so doing that the Nigerian State will re-order its priorities for greater achievements in a fast changing world also governed by changing speed in technology.

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