MINUTES OF THE MEETING BETWEEN THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION (NUC) AND THE ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN PHYSICIANS IN THE AMERICAS (ANPA) HELD ON 22ND OF MARCH, 2016 AT ROOM 6, NgREN BUILDING, NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION, ABUJA
Professor Julius A. Okojie, OON Executive Secretary, NUC
Professor Chiedu F. Mafiana Deputy Executive Secretary I, NUC
Dr. S. B. Ramon-Yusuf Director, Research & Innovation, NUC
Mr. Chris Maiyaki Director, Protocol & Special Duties, NUC
Dr. Joshua Atah Head, ICT Projects, NUC
Dr. Nkem Chukwumerije President, ANPA
Dr. Cliff Eke Chair, Medical Missions Committee, ANPA
Dr. Abraham Osinbowale Chair, Advocacy Committee, ANPA
Dr. Barbara Onyia Chair (Elect), Houston Chapter, ANPA
Dr. Adebola Giwa Member, Medical Missions Committee, ANPA
Dr. Ifeanyi Obiakor Vice Chairman/promoter, American Hospital
Mr. Michael E. Ejegwa Senior ICT Officer, NUC
The meeting commenced at 10:05am with opening remarks by the Deputy Executive Secretary I (DES I), National Universities Commission (NUC).
In his welcome address, the DES I welcomed the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) delegation and thanked them for making out time from their busy schedule to visit NUC. He thereafter conveyed the Executive Secretary’s apologies for not being present at the start of the meeting.
He then went on to give a brief history of NUC and the recent achievements recorded by the Commission.
The President, ANPA, in response, thanked NUC for receiving his delegation and went on to state the purpose of the group’s visit, which primarily was to follow-up on the discussions which began last year after the visit of his predecessor to NUC, and the subsequent interactions at the ANPA convention in Anaheim, USA, also in 2014.
He also stated that the team would be interested in discussing the following:
- Methods of measuring graduates from the various medical schools across the country in a bid to ensure that they were able to compete globally before they are allowed to begin practice;
- Partnering with NUC to develop and/or improve curricula for medical schools in Nigeria and also to foster more collaborations and strengthen the synergy between NUC and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) in a bid to ensure optimum monitoring of medical schools in Nigeria;
- To collaborate with the NgREN in areas of telemedicine and simulation;
- To explore possibilities of administering a standard examination for medical students as a way of measuring uniformity in the medical curriculum/quality of medical graduates.
2.0 Substantive Issues
2.1 Follow-up on last meeting
Dr. Osinbowale reiterated that the group was visiting NUC to follow-up on meetings held in 2014, especially concerning ANPA’s collaboration with the NgREN to improve telemedicine in Nigerian universities. In response, Dr. Atah stated that due to the robust nature of the NgREN’s Network, telemedicine and other collaborations were feasible. However, funding was a major challenge. He observed that there had been a growing interest amongst the universities to join the Network, as five (5) more universities were expected to join by the end of the month (March, 2016). He further stated that the reason for the growing interest amongst universities was the exorbitant amount they currently paid for bandwidth from internet service providers, which was in the range of $1,260 per mbps, whereas the NgREN was offering the same service for less than $50 per mbps, and which could be driven further down to about $30 per mbps by the time a considerable number of universities joined the Network.
2.2 Parameters for measuring graduates
In responding to inquiries as to how students, upon graduation, could be measured before they were allowed to practice, the Director, Research and Innovation (DRI), NUC, stated that the responsibility was that of MDCN. He further stated that although the minimum benchmarks for the medical schools was developed by NUC, he would like to see a situation whereby the MDCN was willing to partner with NUC in ensuring the quality of graduating doctors.
Concerning issues in the current curriculum whereby students were not challenged enough to carry out practical’s, the DRI stated that the newly developed Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) was competency-based and thus practical-oriented with formative assessments infused in the benchmark. This was with a view to substantially address most of the challenges being faced by medical schools and ensure that the graduates were better equipped to compete with the rest of the world. He once again called for the MDCN to be prompted to work more closely with NUC to achieve better results.
When asked about the current rate of Simulation in Nigerian medical schools, the Executive Secretary, NUC, informed the delegation that Simulation had been infused into the new BMAS. He further informed that as quality assurance measure, class sizes for new medical schools were limited to 50 students.
3.0 Next Steps
The meeting agreed to the following next steps:
- That the NgREN should step up efforts to include more universities into the Network, and that a presentation would be made on the status of the Network at the upcoming ANPA convention holding in Las Vegas, USA in June 2016;
- That NUC team interfacing with ANPA be expanded;
- That some of the suggestions from the meeting would be put to MDCN, and that more efforts would be made to ensure that they collaborated with NUC to ensure that students, post-graduation, were able to compete more effectively on the global stage.
In giving his concluding remarks, the President ANPA, thanked the Executive Secretary and NUC Management for receiving the delegation. He further stated that ANPA was committed to partnering with NUC and was ready to collaborate with NgREN in areas of telemedicine. He further suggested that a time-bound pilot phase be formulated.
In addition, he stated that he would also like to see a mechanism put in place whereby students are able to give feedback on their lecturers, and that such feedback should in turn be used to evaluate the staff.
In giving his closing remarks, the DES I thanked the delegation for meeting with NUC and pledged that the Commission would do its part in ensuring that the outlined next steps are achieved.
The meeting came to a close at 11:45am.
Prof. Chiedu Mafiana Dr. Nkem Chukwumerije
Dep. Executive Secretary I, NUC President, ANPA