30 November 2017

Nigeria: How Irregularities Marred Our Medical Exams - Foreign-Trained Doctors

Some Nigerian foreign-trained doctors yesterday narrated how irregularities marred their recently conducted 16-week induction course for them to be licenced to practice in the country.

The foreign-trained doctors, numbering over 200, who were part of those said to have failed the examination for the induction, said the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) had from the beginning set out to fail most of them.

During a meeting with the Senate Committee on Health chaired by Sen Lanre Tejouso (APC, Ogun) yesterday in Abuja, one after the other, the medical doctors narrated how they were treated unjustly even as they said the results of the final examinations they took were manipulated.

This is even as the Senate health committee, which is in receipt of a petition by the parents of the affected doctors, said it would come up with a position on the matter next week.

Accompanied by their parents, the doctors who trained in countries such as Egypt, Ukraine, US, UK, Russia, Sudan, China, The Caribbean, among others, demanded justice. The exams took place between November 15 and 17.

A female doctor who first spoke, told the committee that they were shocked to discover that the examinations were completely out of the curriculum.

A total of 680 doctors sat for the examinations but only about 240, representing 35 percent, were said to have passed, while 440 of them (65 percent), reportedly failed.

Two of the doctors lost their lives while trying to see justice, the panel heard. The doctors also said one of them, who was given a scholarship during his second year of study abroad due to his performance, is said to be among those that failed.

"We attended the course which was for three months. At the end of the programme, the first exam we took was a computer-based exam. We were shocked to discover that the exam was completely out of the curriculum. A lot of people cried because of the uncertainty. A lot of people that made up their minds to re-sit the exam surprisingly passed. We need to know the criteria used in marking. There's no standard. A lot of people were robbed, some had mental problems," the female doctor said.

Another female doctor told the lawmakers: "The computer test had unique numbers. I went for general medicine, but when I put my number, the questions that appeared against my name were for dental. I raised my hand, and all those with similar problems were asked to stand up. Eventually, the exams started at 12 noon. My point is that there were hitches on the day of the exams. If I could get dental questions instead of general medicine, it means there were issues."

Yet another doctor narrated his experience thus: "During the course of our training, they gave us log books to sign. However, there were a lot of strikes during the period, so some of us couldn't sign the log books completely. The log books were used in grading us. There was to be 75 percent attendance, but some people had less than that, yet they were passed.

Sen Tejouso told the foreign-trained doctors and their parents that the committee would come up with a position on the matter next week.

"I met with some of your parents today (yesterday). We want to let you know that we'll get to the root of the matter. By early next week, we'll be able to come up with a position."

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