Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital, Abuja (NHA), Prof. Muhammad Raji, has said Nigerian universities are still very good choices for the study of medicine.
Raji told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that medical graduates from the West African nation were a hot cake worldwide because of the vast training they receive.
“Yes, there are challenges of funding and equipment, but the Nigerian medical trainees are about the best in the world because they have hands-on training.
“We have two sets of trainings in the medical school – basic medical sciences and then clinical sciences.
“In clinical sciences, you go to the hospitals and do a lot there.
“Each of the Nigerian universities make sure you do hands-on training which is very important, unlike what you get in other parts of the world.
“In many schools outside our shores, their lectures are didactic (moral); they hardly handle patients or tissues directly, everything is done virtually.
“Like when we were doing the anatomy of the human body, we were the ones dissecting those bodies and seeing every structure in the human body.
“However, when I visited a school in another country, they were so proud to tell me that when their students did anatomy, it was just one big computer they used.
“So, in effect, if you are to trace a nerve, you press a button to see it. That is their training.
“Also, when they go to clinicals, whereas, as for me during my first one month, I was forced to sign off twenty intravenous (IV) lines in clinicals.
“There, some people don’t do that. Somebody might graduate and has never even passed an IV line.
“That is why, sometimes, when trainees in medicine from other countries come into Nigeria, they find it difficult to even pass our Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) examinations because examinations here are mainly practical-based.”
“So, the training they have out there is mainly theory which is why Nigerian doctors and nurses are hot cakes outside the country,” he said.
The CMD said that the Nigerian universities were still very good to study medicine, but encounter the same problems of funding and lack of equipment that the hospitals face.
According to him, the equipment that were available when he was studying in medical school many years ago may have been new and numerous at the time compared to what those same schools would have now.
Also to be considered is the fact that the number of medical students had increased to an extent, he observed.
“Though I must say that before each number is increased in the medical school, MDCN has to go and supervise, inspect and be sure that the facility they have will be able to accommodate that number.
“It means that whatever facility you put in, you expect to have that facility either upgraded or changed over a certain number of years, but with the funding that our Nigerian universities have, they may not be able to do so, even if the Vice Chancellors would wish to.
“Also, we must consider the fact that universities have their hands a bit tight, because if they say they want some additional funding, one of the ways will be to increase tuition and school fees, which usually is not taken lightly by other Nigerians
“Hospitals and the universities still have some equipment, but they are not as good as the trainers would wish,” he said.(NAN)