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Nigerian Medical Association criticizes licensing of unqualified foreign medical graduates

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has raised its voice against what it views as unwarranted interference in the country’s medical regulations and standards, particularly concerning the licencing of foreign-trained medical graduates.

The NMA expressed concern that, despite the majority of these foreign medical graduates failing relevant examinations in Nigeria, they resort to unprofessional practises to secure licences. The association lamented that individuals and organisations, backed by political influence, are attempting to impose unqualified individuals as doctors on the Nigerian populace.

Dr. Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman of the Lagos chapter of the NMA, addressed this issue during a press briefing held as part of the 2023 Physicians’ Week. Dr. Olowojebutu emphasized that the NMA has meticulously reviewed the licencing processes and examinations, urging medical graduates who face difficulties to seek assistance rather than resort to intimidation and blackmail. He asserted that Nigerian-trained doctors and dentists are highly sought-after worldwide, affirming their competence and quality.

The NMA called upon relevant authorities to resist external pressures that may compromise established standards. Furthermore, they urged the government to promptly investigate the quality of medical education provided to Nigerians abroad.

Concerns Over Incapacitated Medical and Dental Council

Dr. Olowojebutu also expressed concern over what he termed the “routine incapacitation” of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN). He highlighted the legislation that mandates the uninterrupted operation of the council, emphasizing the need for timely reconstitution by the government to maintain effective regulation of medical practice.

He noted with regret that this situation has led to the non-formation of two critical bodies within the council: the Investigative Panel and the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Tribunal. The absence of these entities, he pointed out, hinders the investigation and trial of medical negligence or malpractice cases. Dr. Olowojebutu firmly opposed the government’s plan to cease funding the MDCN from the upcoming year, deeming it a misguided move that could jeopardize the sector.

Addressing Challenges in the Medical Field

While reflecting on the distressing challenges faced by the medical community, including the frequent attacks on doctors and the prevalent brain drain, Dr. Olowojebutu urged for tangible action rather than mere lip service. He implored stakeholders to take these concerns seriously and implement effective solutions.

Furthermore, the NMA called upon the Cross River and Abia state governments to provide information about the whereabouts of Prof. Ekanem Philip Ephraim and Prof. U.U. Iweha, vowing that the association will persist in seeking answers regarding their status.

In a period of evolving healthcare dynamics, the NMA continues to advocate for maintaining high standards in the medical profession, securing the integrity of medical regulations, and promoting the welfare of healthcare professionals and the public.

 

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