The Transparency Advocacy Initiative for Development (TAID), a civil society organisation, has cautioned against bringing the name of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to disrepute.
TAID’s National Coordinator, Yomi David, in a statement in Abuja recently, said that the group was concerned about recent media reports that questioned the integrity of MDCN, a body established by law to test, and license competent practitioners into the medical profession.
According to him, the position of a regulator in any system that serves the public is sacrosanct and it is unbecoming when supposed beneficiaries begin to cast aspersions on the impartiality of the regulator.
He said that TAID still had unwavering confidence in the credibility of the council.
“For the records section three of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap M8 (2004) states that: the council may institute an assessment examination for holders of foreign medical or dental qualifications recognised by the government of the countries where such qualifications were obtained.
“It is also on record that the MDCN did not directly administer the examination in question, as it was done by the University of Ilorin under close supervision by external examiner, while the duly signed results presented to the MDCN were published.
“Following three months training at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, a total of 680 doctors sat for the exams.
“Only 240 or about 35 per cent passed while 440 of them or 65 per cent failed this examination, which tested their understanding of the basics of medical practice cannot be the fault of the MDCN which neither trained nor directly tested these candidates.’’
David said that it was unacceptable that candidates who could not pass a routine examination would resort to casting aspersions on the examiner, rather than trying again with better preparations when the next examination cycle comes around.
The coordinator said that group independently examined the facts and was convinced that the MDCN acted in the best interest of the Nigerian people and within the ambits of the laws of the land.
“We salute the leadership of the council for refusing to bow to pressures mounted on it to reduce the premium it places on Nigerian lives.
“It is an indisputable fact that countless Nigerian trained medical professionals leave the shores of this country annually and they excel abroad.
“So, for anyone to suggest that foreign trained doctors are somehow qualified by virtue of their being trained outside Nigeria is being disingenuous and must be resisted by all well-meaning Nigerians.
“We urge the Minister of Health to continue to stand firmly behind the council, in furtherance of the anticorruption agenda and posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We implore those characters peddling rumours that have no basis in law or morality against the MDCN to desist from further cheapening the value of Nigerian life.”
He said that politics had no place whatsoever in assessing professional competence and the regulator so saddled with the powers must be allowed to exercise such powers in a rancor free environment.
David said that the leadership of TAID passed a vote of confidence on the outstanding leadership of MDCN in person of Dr. Tajudeen Sanusi for his courage in reposition MDCN.
“While we need to address the access side of this problem, by reducing the doctor/patient ratio which currently stands at about 1:6000 about 10 times the WHO recommended ratio of 1:600, we must not compromise on quality of personnel we recruit into the profession, hence the need for a very strong regulator,’’ he said.