By Usman Adamu
I write to draw the attention of the Nigerian state that what is happening in the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) in terms of assessing MBBS graduates who attended foreign universities is not transparent and is deficient in the basic ethical conduct of examinations universally.
They provide no marking scheme or any set standard known to guide the conduct of examinations and results are only known to them. What happened last week (12-13th of July, 2023) at Ibadan and the outcome of this year’s first leg of the two sessions they provide to such students attests to this concern.
Less than 30 percent were declared to have passed the examination and those deemed to have failed have no idea of their scores and in particular segmental performance distribution to know where they are/were “defective” so that they can make amends.
Secondly, no post examination assessment is conducted to generally educate the participants and the public about reasons for the mass failure.
This is necessary because the goal, to my mind, of conducting examinations is to test the participants’ capacity not to pass a reckless nebulous judgment. Thirdly, most of the participants attended credible institutions which by far have better facilities than what we have and their tutors are renowned on the world stage of the medical profession. Yet, their graduates who they trained for years are deemed weaklings in a few hours of examination by the Nigerian “gods”. The examination over the years proved to be only a source of punishment rather than a mechanism for growth of knowledge.
The fourth point I want to raise is even more perplexing because if the claim of MDCN to “capacity” testing is true, then our performance in health care delivery would have been acclaimed by the world and Nigerians won’t be rushing outside the country for medical attention at the slightest opportunity where these same graduates they are punishing were trained leaving the medical space dominated by MDCN.
Furthermore, it was generally reported by the participants that the ambience in the examination conduct was not only unfriendly but a precursor to them that they were only interacting with people on a journey to a predetermined destination.
Knowledge flourishes not through intimidation and indignation but through finesse and sound psychological preparedness. Examination is not a funeral event and the people being tested are mostly young Nigerian citizens in pursuit of knowledge to make life better for themselves and their country.
My sincere appeal is for the Federal Government to look into the code of conduct of MDCN generally and its conduct of that testing examination in particular and make transparency to prevail through making detailed results public for those that passed and those deemed to have failed with segmental distribution of performance.
Furthermore, the law establishing the Council should be revisited to unbundle it and devolve its activities to remove the spectre of “cultist” pedigree now being associated with the Council.
Members of the National Assembly representing states from the North in particular, whose students are constantly and consistently victimised should lead this simple cause.
Let every geographical zone have its regulatory body on this matter because none lacks the requisite manpower to do the evaluation of foreign trained medical doctors at this point in our history.
This was what was done to ICAN with the creation of ANAN and our law schools are equally decentralised. The advantages are now obvious and MDCN should suffer the same fate and the evil it perpetrates as an institution will follow the perpetrators.
In fact, taking a cue from the Sardauna episode, it is far safer to engage a foreigner to do your job than a neighbour whose agenda is unequivocally malicious.
World over, knowledge is nurtured and those craving for it are encouraged not dehumanised through a state sanctioned institution like MDCN turning students into victims of select MDCN officials with what may look like a sadistic expedition in the conduct of a mere testing examination.
On our part, we are rallying forces to ensure that a more comprehensive memo is produced on this matter to ensure both legal and procedural steps are taken to address observed concerns in MDCN operation and free its victims eternally.
Adamu wrote from Shehu Shagari Close, Kaduna State