34 years on, medical college bemoans poor funding

By: Chioma Umeha 

After 34 years of existence, the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Ijanikin, Lagos has cried out for financial help to upgrade current facilities at the college. 

In its 31st pre-convocation ceremony briefing yesterday in Lagos, the College President, Prof. Victor Wakwe said the institution has been financially struggling for survival since inception in 1979, pointing out that the unhealthy development has constrained the college from optimal performance. He explained that the reason the college had been neglected and its inability to access funds from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) was tied with its establishment under the Ministry of Health, while TETFUND was planted to handle education affairs. The president however argued that the postgraduate college was a tertiary institution that should benefit from such purse to enable it meet with international standard.  

“This is a tertiary education, therefore, TETFUND needs to release money to the institution so as to operate successfully. We are aware that this Trust Fund begs universities to access the fund, why should our case be exempted,” he queried. As the college continues to suffer dearth of academic infrastructures, such as inadequate examination hall, absence of performance and cognitive skills examination centre and inadequate training facilities of personnel that will train resident doctors, Wakwe decried that there has been no response from TETFUND despite the Minister of Health recent intervention. “This college is the only college owned by the country that caters for more than 90 percent of postgraduate medical training of doctors and dentists. Less than 10 percent of the postgraduate training of doctors and dentists in this country and most Commonwealth countries are done by universities. 

But colleges like ours in these Commonwealth countries carry out professional postgraduate medical training,” he said. The president also complained of insufficient foreign training for some of the resident doctors, lamenting that less than 60 were sent abroad last year against the 200 suggested by the college, grieving more that none has been sent this year. He was not also comfortable with the fact that from 2007 till date, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has not functioned due to the removal of the council’s chairman. MDCN, serving as a law court which punishes erring medical practitioners, Wakwe noted that many cases of malpractice would have piled up in the sector, thereby appealing to the President Goodluck Jonathan to appoint a new chairman to discontinue non-regulated medical services in Nigeria.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 14,  2013.


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