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HomeNigeria Ranks 4th Globally in Medical Doctor Population, Yet Contradictions Persist

Nigeria Ranks 4th Globally in Medical Doctor Population, Yet Contradictions Persist

Highlighting a remarkable yet paradoxical statistic, Professor Kanu Nkanginieme, a distinguished authority in Paediatrics hailing from the University of Port Harcourt, revealed that Nigeria occupies the fourth position worldwide in terms of its medical doctor populace. This revelation unfolded during his insightful discourse at the Theophilus Oladipo-Ogunlesi Memorial Lecture 2023, a significant event hosted as part of the 17th Annual Scientific Conference and All Fellows’ Congress (ASCAF), held in Ilorin. This prestigious gathering was orchestrated by the esteemed National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.

Nkanginieme, a seasoned Consultant Paediatrician, chose to anchor his presentation on the theme “Paradigm Shifts in 21st Century Nigerian Medical Education.” Amid celebrating Nigeria’s standing in producing medical professionals, he confronted the paradoxical reality that has left the nation in a state of contradiction.

The seasoned expert urged a recalibration of focus, emphasizing the imperative of channeling Nigeria’s immense potential towards making a profound positive impact on the nation, rather than simply being bystanders to global advancements in the realm of medical practice, training, and evaluation.

He observed that glaring inconsistencies pervade the national and institutional landscape, further deepening the contradictions. A glaring example he highlighted is the deficiency of doctors in primary healthcare centers while the country, paradoxically, engages in the exportation of medical professionals. Additionally, state general hospitals grapple with understaffing issues, in stark contrast to federal medical centers that grapple with an excess of personnel. A shortage of medical supplies is juxtaposed with a surge in citizens’ out-of-pocket medical expenses, reflecting a disconcerting dissonance.

Nkanginieme championed a paradigm shift from traditional teaching methodologies centered around instructors to a self-directed and self-motivated learner-centric approach. He passionately endorsed a transformation from conventional clinical postings that lack specific outcome audits to a well-structured, quantified clinical cognition and performance skills framework, characterized by a clear delineation of responsibilities and accountability for both trainees and trainers.

Furthermore, he championed a transition from the conventional allocation of hours for lectures and practical assignments to a more contemporary approach that values hours of rigorous self-study and meticulous verification of cognitive and performance skills proficiency. This, he argued, should be integrated into clinical practice modules and serve as the cornerstone for quantifying medical course credit units.

With candor, Nkanginieme underscored the need to recalibrate the system’s approach to medical education, sounding the alarm that the education system mustn’t be led by the weakest links. Given the gravity of medical practice involving human life, he proposed a comprehensive approach that champions complete remediation and verification of learning, rather than resorting to carryovers or subpar educational practices.

He urged for a pragmatic clause that permits comprehensive remediation and envisages an extended period for weak medical students, ensuring that their graduation journeys span nine years, instead of the conventional six. Nkanginieme’s insights shed light on the need for a holistic reformation of medical education in Nigeria, underscoring the paradoxes that must be addressed to ensure the nation’s medical education system aligns with global standards. (NAN)

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