There is palpable apprehension amongst medical students of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan(UI), as well as patients seeking clinical services at the University College Hospital(UCH), with the withdrawal of services by over 300 members of the Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) in both the university and hospital.
Recall that MDCAN had declared an indefinite strike on Tuesday to press home its demand for the National Universities Commission(NUC) to withdraw the circular requiring clinical lecturers to acquire a PhD as a condition for career progression in Nigerian universities.
The strike, which commenced on Wednesday is already taking its toll on the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan as clinical lectures have collapsed, leaving medical students in despair.
Dr. Dare Olulana, Chairman, MDCAN, UCH branch, told journalists at a press conference on Wednesday that they were left with no further choice than to withdraw their services from the institutions with immediate effect.
He said: “Having held our local chapter congress in the University College Hospital, Ibadan, we resolved to comply fully with the directive of our national body to embark of indefinite withdrawal of our services from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan until our demands are met.”
Olulana ,however, assured the general public that members would continue to render professional clinical services to patients at UCH for now, but threatened that such services would be withdrawn if members were pushed to the point where they will escalate their actions.
“What we intend to achieve is to withdraw our services in all universities, but we will continue with clinical services . However, if our demands are not met , we may be forced to withdraw clinical services in the hospitals,” he warned.
The MDCAN chairman further challenged the Executive Secretary of NUC on the alleged obnoxious policy introduced, acquiring a PhD as a condition for career progression in Nigerian universities, saying that the decision of the NUC to embark on this policy, without due attention to the consequences and implications is to say the least, embarrassing.
“For the purpose of clarity to the general public, at no point in all the previous discussions with NUC had the relevant stakeholders agreed on introducing PhD for career progression for clinical lecturers in the universities. The said circular is dubious. It is on the basis of foregoing that MDCAN rose from the January emergency NEC meeting with a resolution to the authorities, including NUC, to withdraw the said circular. This was duly communicated to NUC but sadly our demand was ignored,” Olulana stated.
According to him, members of the Association were shocked to hear from the Executive Secretary of NUC, that the circular was in line with the global best practice.
“When you talk of global best practice, we expected the NUC to go to Canada, USA, Britain and France, but sadly, the NUC was said to have gone to Sudan,
Bangladesh and India to copy,”he added.
He said by implication , the Residency Training Programme and the Fellowship of the National Postgraduate Medical College , the West African College of Physicians and the West African of Surgeons, is no longer considered adequate for eligibility to teach clinical medicine in Nigeria.
One of the Medical students who identified himself as Dolapo, appealed to the government to save the students from prolonged idleness and unproductivity.
In attendance at the press conference are the 1st Vice National President, Dr. Victor Makanjuola, representing the National President of MDCAN , Professor Ken Ozoilo; the Chairman, MDCAN , UCH branch, Dr. Dare Olulana; Dr. Dayo Williams of the Association of Resident Doctors(ARD); the Secretary MDCAN , Dr. A. Adedapo and medical students from UI College of Medicine, amongst others.