Consultant Doctors Threaten Strike over PhD Demand on Clinical Lecturers

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has threatened to withdraw their services if the National University Commission (NUC) insists that doctors teaching clinical students in the university must have a PhD degree, demanding that the circular to Vice Chancellors of universities conveying the new policy be immediately withdrawn to avert the strike.

Addressing a press conference in Jos, Plateau State, the President of MDCAN, Professor Kenneth Ozoilo, said the modality of the strike will be that MDCAN will first withdraw services from teaching undergraduate medical students from the 24th of February, 2020. Then it will be followed with withdrawal from teaching doctors undergoing postgraduate training, before it will finally withdraw services entirely from the health sector if NUC fails to withdraw the letter.

NUC had written to Vice Chancellors of universities that Medical doctors teaching students in the universities must have a PhD to qualify them for the job, noting that residency training leading to the possession of Fellowship is not enough to qualify them to teach medical students in the university.

It therefore advised doctors that have undergone residency training to enroll for a PhD programme to qualify them to teach in medical schools, noting that the prerequisite however, does not apply to doctors that are willing to limit themselves strictly to clinical practice without delving into teaching, since their residency training is sufficient for practice.

But reacting, the MDCAN President explained that the tedious residency training that lasts for a minimum of six years was equivalent to PhD  degree and should be considered as a PhD.

He added that Consultants having passed through residency do not need PhD to effectively train the students. He added that the residency training has both academic and research components which makes it sufficient for practice and training of medical students.

Ozoilo said, “We agree that PhD is a highly respected degree; we don’t have issues with that, but it should be by choice for doctors that have completed their residency programme, and should not be made compulsory for them because of the peculiarity of medical training. Acquiring of PhD is of no much value in the training; it is more of a face value and cosmetic.

“We have written to NUC to this effect, expressing all these concerns, but they did not even deem it fit to acknowledge our letter not to talk of responding to it. That was what led to the ultimatum of 24th of this month.

“No university will employ you to teach clinical disciplines if you have not done residency training, because you have to be hands-on-patients in training the students.”

He said that MDCAN rarely embark of strike, “but the NUC circular will be compelling us to do this, but it can still be averted if NUC will do the needful. We call on all well-meaning Nigerians to intervene to avert the strike. We are aware that some Vice Chancellors, I think Delta State University or so, have started implementing it, and we can’t fold our arms and allow it to continue this way.”