There was anxiety at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Wednesday as medical consultants withdrew their services in protest against a circular that prescribed acquisition of PhD for clinical lecturers in Nigerian universities.
They were protesting under the aegis of the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria.
The National Universities Commission had, in the circular dated December 24, 2019, addressed to vice-chancellors of all Nigerian universities and the registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, indicated that PhD programmes should be introduced in the clinical sciences in the university system.
However, the MDCAN, as well as the medical students at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, described the position of the NUC as incongruent and “putting the cart before the horse.”
While declaring an indefinite strike to press home its demands for the withdrawal of the circular on Wednesday, the MDCAN said the policy stood logic on its head.
The Chairman, MDCAN, UCH, Dr Dare Olulana, said his members were constrained to withdraw their services with immediate effect in protest against the policy.
He said, “It is ancient logic that efficiency is compromised whenever the cart is placed before the horse. This is what the obnoxious NUC circular on PhD for clinical lecturers in Nigerian universities that was released represents.
“The originators of medicine and medical practice have always trained their doctors relying on the expertise of fellowship earners because they have gone through carefully developed residency programme that carry both academic and professional contents unmatchable by any other.
“This justifiably provoked sufficient upset for us to call an emergency meeting of our association in Abuja on January 4. MDCAN met again two weeks later in Port Harcourt and following extensive deliberations, a 21-day ultimatum was issued to the NUC to withdraw the circular but sadly, our demand was ignored.
“Consequently, we are left with no further choice but to withdraw our services from the universities with immediate effect. We resolve to comply fully with the directive of our national body to embark on an indefinite withdrawal of our services from the College of Medicine, UI.
“We expected the NUC to go to Canada, USA, Britain and France to copy new ways of doing things but sadly, the NUC headed to Sudan, Bangladesh and India.”
Meanwhile, both patients and medical students were seen expressing fears on the possible effects of the strike on Wednesday.