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ABUJA, NIGERIA (PUNCH) -- The 437 foreign-trained doctors, who failed the November 15 induction examination by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, have alleged that the council’s assessment was fraught with a lot of shortcomings.
Three of the affected doctors, who spoke with our correspondent at a briefing in Abuja, said they were “hastily labelled as failures by the council despite taking the examination under grossly inappropriate conditions.”
They demanded that the council, which allegedly uploaded two sets of results, should conduct a fresh assessment for them.
Over 680 foreign-trained doctors, who took the examination, had on November 29 led a protest to the National Assembly over their mass failure, what they described as an unfair treatment by the MDCN.
The senate, through the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso, had promised that the legislature would investigate the allegation of mass failure.
On Monday, one of the doctors, who finished from a Russian university and gave his name simply as Ibrahim, said the examination was full of irregularities.
He said, “The council does not have any standardized syllabus or a grading system for us. They do not have cut-off marks. If I wanted, I could practice in Russia and continue with my specialization. The statement that we failed because we are incompetent is an insult to the countries where we trained.
“How can you take 690 students and squeeze them in a class that can take only 150? How can you take 50 students and assign them to one consultant for training in the hospital during our 16-week orientation? The assessment results were also posted online after the exams, but a few hours later, they were brought down and replaced. We have evidences.
“There were names which appeared in the first list and disappeared in the second list with new names coming up. Does that give credibility to the results?”
Another doctor who trained in China and identified himself simply as Audu, said, “While we held that training, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors went on a two-week strike. Immediately they came back, the Nigerian Association of Nurses and Midwives also went on another two-week strike, during which hospitals were closed, including the teaching hospitals. For four weeks, we were actually idle. Let Nigerians judge our case.”
A parent of one of the affected doctors, Sadiq Kassim, said, “These children went to world-class universities in Europe, Asia and America to study. These are the same places our political leaders go for medical treatment. Our belief is that these students sat for an examination, which was pre-determined by the council. Our contention is that they must be re-tested on a level-playing ground which is free and fair.”
When contacted, the MDCN acting Registrar, Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, said the doctors had failed and should rather re-present themselves for another examination.
The registrar said, “This is a regulatory body empowered to maintain standards. I have continued to say that I will not trade quality for quantity. It is true that we need doctors in Nigeria but the people that will jeopardise the health sector will not be licensed to practise. Out of 685 candidates, only eight of them were able to produce the practising licences from the areas they claimed.
“Alleging that I did this or that is not true. I did not participate in the revision nor in the setting of questions. I did not participate in the marking or collation. In fact, as a matter of quality control and to bring credibility into the system, we brought in external examiners for the first time.
“We have cleared this matter with the Senate and the House of Representatives. They have failed and they have failed. They should re-present themselves for another examination. Nobody can get medical license through the backdoor.”