NPMCN produces 340 fellows, cautions against strike



The National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) has graduated 340 new fellows in various areas of specialties of health care. The college president, Prof. Ademola Olaitan, at the ceremony in Lagos said the number is a worthy achievement as it adds up to the medical force to save the nation.

According to him, postgraduate medical and dental education in the country is faced with enormous challenges such as low funding and incessant strike actions at various teaching hospitals. Olaitan in his address noted that the college frowns at frequent industrial actions by these young fellows because it does not only hinder patients care, it also disrupts their training. He told journalist that doctors have been advised to discuss with hospital management and government if they have reasons to go on strike. Meanwhile the guest lecturer, Dr. Benedictus Ajayi, pointed out that doctors couldn’t be entirely blamed for the incessant strikes but also the inability of governments to provide the wherewithal to discharge their important responsibilities.

He, however, condemned the act of industrial action among doctors, saying strikes are not necessary because they do not address the needed issues and “what young fellows refuse to realize is they would most times resort to dialogue after actions.” Ajayi added that they are not always patient enough to make their demands and also desire quick response from the government forgetting there are other equally pressing issues that needs to be addressed.

He observed that though corruption is pervasive in the country, but that should not be an excuse for doctors to always go on strike to get what is due them.

He urged them rather to articulate their needs through the use of persuasive mechanisms like lobbying rather than strike, as well as present their grievances early enough. Ajayi, a fellow of the college, explained that industrial actions hinder the acquisition of certain skills for young fellows, which results to longer training periods, damage of equipment due to disuse and loss of patient’s confidence in the system. During his lecture titled, “What kind of Doctor Are You,” Ajayi maintained that the dire consequences of previous strikes by doctors at the various teaching hospitals are yet to be recovered, as many patients have died with some incapacitated. He remarked that right attitude is key towards the progress of the country and “strike among doctors is a question of attitude.” Dr. Temitope Farombe, one of the grandaunts, identified lack of infrastructural facilities as a major challenge as some centers have fewer skill facilities to train with, such that they have to go elsewhere to acquire more skill. She, therefore, urged government to do more in this regard, “medicine has gone from being primitive to supper technical, hence the latest technology is required for better patients care.”

Olaitan, however, charged the new fellows to tutor other people as they have been mentored at the college and also treat patients like human beings with empathy and compassion. He also appealed to government to resuscitate the funding of the one – year abroad programme that exposes post part I residents to practices in developed countries plus procurement of modern equipment for better diagnosis and treatment. The 340 fellows consists of specialists in the following fields, anaesthesia, dental surgery, family medicine, family dentistry, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, otolaryngology, paediatrics, pathology, psychiatry, public health and community medicine, radiology and surgery.

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Ademola OlaitanNPMCN
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