700 foreign medical students bemoan victimization ahead of MDCN licence exams

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We write with books on our thighs

Pay N125,000 exam fees

ABOUT 700 foreign medical students who are about to write the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, licensing examination  have expressed frustration over the ill treatment meted out at them during the 12-week remedial course in Ilorin.

The 12-week remedial course, which began in August, was concluded on October 31 while the licensing examination will take place between November 8 and 9.

The medical personnel who received their degrees abroad and desire to practice in Nigeria were made to go through an assessment exercise to prove they had obtained the same level of knowledge as newly graduating doctors in Nigeria.

 

Graduating  doctors

The assessment, which is usually done twice every year, in April and October, included a mandatory a four-month pre-assessment remedial course aimed at introducing the foreign graduates to diseases that are prevalent in the Nigerian environment.

The current batch that is set to write the exam in November has alleged that the Council is not sufficiently prepared to conduct the exam, owing to the high level of discomfort and rigour they passed through in the past three months. Some of the doctors who spoke to Vanguard believed that the generally poor organisation of the courses being undergone at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) was as a result of the school’s inexperience.

Onyinye Okere, a young female doctor from one of the universities in Eastern Europe, said that since the inception of MDCN examinations, the assessment exercise has always been done in partnership with five specific teaching hospitals in Nigeria, namely, the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), an University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH); adding, “the bringing in of the assessment to UITH this year has brought untold hardship to the medical students.”

She said, “UNILORIN has no experience in handling this exam because they have never hosted it before. There are no standard procedures in routines as the hospital rotations have been on and off due to series of strikes embarked on by staff of the school. No provision for desks, we write with books on our thighs. We are over 700 and the seats available are barely enough for 500. There have been times when our colleagues had to fight over seats while some of us have had to stand at the back during classes. Even one of the professors told us that the facilities in the school have the capacity to train 150 doctors every year. Nigeria is not like abroad, hence it is the survival of the fittest.”

A candidate’s cry… ‘We are getting punished for studying abroad’

Another candidate who did not want his name in print for fear of victimisation added: The programme that I usually ran for four months before the exam, was reduced to twelve weeks. I wonder how we are going to cover the curriculum in the space of time.

Other candidates who spoke to Vanguard Learning complained that in addition to the reduced duration of the course, there have been lots of distractions for them, noting that the hospital forces them to do all clinical activities that are normally meant for the schools’ undergraduate medical students.

Extra tutorial sessions

A candidate said: “They gave us log books that their students use and gave us ridiculous targets. Spending much time in the hospital daily, I get stressed up on getting home and cannot even go through my lecture notes. It’s more like we are getting punished for going to study abroad.”

He speak of how the time table for lectures were not strictly followed and how they had to pay extra money for extra tutorial sessions as a result of the poor delivery of lectures. “How can we know all that we are meant to know in just three months? They simply want us to fail. The actual practical skills we need to know for the exams no one is teaching us. The time for our lecture is supposed to be 2 to 4, but one day, we received four lectures as against the usual one per day. They don’t care if we will assimilate or not, they just want to deliver the lectures and move on.

“Sometimes, lectures were postponed because there was no fuel in the generator to power the projector and the public-address system. As I speak to you, many of us have paid N6,000 for extra tutorial ahead of the exams, because I don’t think I can pass if I depend on the few information we get from these lectures.”

67% increment of exam fee, not much to show for it

Further inquiries also led to the discovery that the immediate past assessment held in April 2017 had a far lesser registration fee compared to the current one, and perhaps, the issue of finance could not have been the reason for the alleged insufficient facilities.

While April candidates were said to have purchased application forms at the rate of N1, 200 and examination fee N75,000, the October batch purchased the forms for N5,000 and paid N125,000 as examination fees. Working with the average figure of 700 candidates, the current set must have collectively paid the sum of Eighty seven million, five hundred thousand Naira (N87, 5000, 000) only for the examination.

Outrageous amount

While lamenting the experience, another candidate, who would not disclose his alma mater, expressed that the value of services being rendered at the hospital does not justify the outrageous amount they were mandated to pay for the programme. “One would have thought that the money we paid for this programme will make certain basics available. I’m surprised we are still at this level in Nigeria. The over  60 per cent increment is of no use.”

A follow up on the extra tutorial revealed that the organizer, Dr. A. A. Adeyeye, a lecturer in the Department of Surgery, was issued a query by the assessment committee who termed the initiative an “act of misconduct.” Efforts to get the reactions of MDCN Registrar, Dr. T.A.B. Sanusi, over the allegations proved abortive as several calls and text messages sent to him were not replied.

However, Mrs Adekola, who identified herself as the front desk officer said the office received the mail from our reporter, but was unable to respond because the Registrar was not disposed.

 

The post 700 foreign medical students bemoan victimization ahead of MDCN licence exams appeared first on Vanguard News.

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