Incapacitation of MDCN Regulatory Function Unacceptable —NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has stated that the routine incapacitation of the Medical and Dental Council’s (MDCN) regulatory function by the government will no longer be acceptable.

The National President of the Association, Dr. Uche Rowland Ojinmah, stated this on Monday through the Plateau State Chairman of NMA, Dr. Bapigaan William Audu, at a press conference to mark this year’s Physician’s Week.

Dr. Ojinmah mentioned that the Act setting up the MDCN stated that the council shall be in perpetuity, adding that the practice whereby the government allowed the Council of MDCN to elapse without replacement, especially for long durations, compromised the ability to regulate medical practice properly as the Investigative Panel and Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Tribunal, which are organs of the council, could not be constituted.

“Hence, no case of medical negligence or malpractice can be investigated or tried. This is not fair to Nigerians and should be immediately resolved by reconstituting the Council or granting an extension of lifespan to the previous Council,” he said.

Audu added that the plan to stop funding the Medical and Dental Council (MDCN) from next year was ill-conceived and could only lead to disaster, adding that the job of the MDCN, which was the regulation of medical and dental practice, was so important that funding her by the government was appropriate.

He said: “If we stop funding the MDCN, I wonder who we want to do it? Probably the doctors and dentists will take over funding a body that regulates and may punish them if necessary.

“Let us remember that whoever pays the piper may dictate the tune. We call on our dear government to continue to fund MDCN in the interest of the health and wellbeing of our citizenry”.

Dr Ojinmah further denounced the persistent attempt by certain individuals and bodies to interfere with the regulation of medical education and standards, especially as it related to the board licensing of foreign-trained medical graduates.

“We have reviewed in detail the processes and content of these exams, and we make bold to say that any medical graduate that fails them should be humble enough to seek help and not engage in brazen arm twisting and blackmail.

“We stand with the MDCN on this and encourage the registrar to remain undaunted, as no one can intimidate him while we watch. As stated in the Physicians’ Pledge, we shall do all within our power to “defend the honour and noble traditions of medicine”. We wonder why it is only the medical profession that faces this onslaught. Other courses are also read in Ukraine, Sudan, Egypt, Belarus, and other countries.

“But it is medicine that must be forced to accept all and sundry to practise, whether qualified or not. If our government does not value the lives of Nigerians, then the NMA will insist on not unleashing terror on Nigerians by licencing unqualified medical and dental graduates. Those who pass the licencing exams are not aliens. If you cannot pass, then seek help and try again”, Ojinmah said.

He called on the National Assembly to resist being used under any guise to compromise the quality of healthcare delivery in Nigeria, adding that if Nigerian trained doctors and dentists were poorly trained, they won’t be in high demand worldwide.

He said: “Our government should immediately investigate the quality of medical education being offered to our children in Ukraine. Let us stand up in defence of the health of an average Nigerian. As the great physician Hutchinson said, “From making the treatment of a disease worse than the disease, O Lord, save us.” This is our prayer for all those trying to foist ill-trained graduates on Nigerians as doctors.

“As Nigerian doctors continue to deliver free medical and surgical treatment (the Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh Free Medical Outreach) to vulnerable Nigerians once every four months, I implore all doctors to also remember to take care of their own health in order to deliver care of the highest standard to our patients”.

Meanwhile, as part of the activities marking 2023 Physician’s Week, the NMA Plateau State chapter has concluded arrangements to organise free medical outreach for security men in the state.