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Fadeyi Oluwaseun
Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho
B.tech Marketing Management
Graduate, Nigeria.

President of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, (MDCAN), Professor Kenneth N. Ozoilo, has said that contrary to the viewpoint of the National Universities Commission (NUC), acquiring a PhD does not improve the quality of patient care or the ability of specialists to teach medical students.

He said instead, clinical lecturers need several years’ experience of training in relevant fields.

He said this while speaking with the Daily Trust on the face-off between the association and the NUC, following the rejection of the commission’s circular dated December 24, 2019, which directed vice-chancellors and registrars of universities, as well as authorities of the National Postgraduate Medical College not to allow medical doctors that are not PhD holders to hold lectureship positions. He said in addition, doctors are required to have the residency training/fellowship of postgraduate colleges.

He said, “PhD merely enhances the research ability of those individuals who wish to pursue a career path in research, which is not everybody. The only qualification for a medical specialist is fellowship/residency training. We therefore hold that to acquire PhD in addition to fellowship is unnecessary, unjust, discriminatory and damaging to medical education.”

He said the commission should as a matter of urgency repeal the directive to keep peace.

“So our demand is that the NUC should withdraw its circular of 24th December 2019 to vice chancellors of universities and the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in its entirety and return to the status quo. The concept we are portraying is that PhD isn’t adding better value to someone who has already done residency training. This residency takes a minimum of six years and it is more intensive.

“The universities already require us to possess a residency training of a minimum six years. The other lecturers are not required to do a residency of 6 years. Therefore, what they need to be able to teach is a PhD, while what medical specialists need to be able to practice and teach is residency training,” he said.

The president said the association will welcome PhD, if it is made voluntary and not mandatory; adding that NUC’s requirement is insincere.

Ozoilo said a lot of doctors occupying clinical lectureship posts have PhDs, which they acquired on a voluntary basis for their own particular career interests in research but not to improve their teaching ability of medical students.

“Our problem is with the universities, NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education. We have no problem with the teaching hospitals, but they will however become affected in due course if the NUC does not accede to our demands. Apart from withdrawing their circular and returning to the status quo, NUC should convene a stakeholders meeting to address the injustices that clinical lecturers endure in the universities that is making teaching unattractive for medical doctors,” he added.

Commenting on the matter, an associate professor of toxicology in the Zoology Department, University of Jos, Bala Audu Sambo, said there are laid down rules in every organisation and such laid down rules must be respected, and ithat n the university system the only thing that makes a lecturer relevant is the PhD.

He said a PhD is necessary for every lecturer including those in the medical line because it will expand one’s philosophy and enable them to conduct research and write medical journals that will even impact on the lives of their students.

Hence, he said, the medical specialists should follow the NUC instruction, and should not be frightened by PhD.

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