Present: Dr. Mike Etomi (ANPA President), Dr. Nkem Chukwumerije (ANPA President-elect), Dr. Johnson Adeyanju (Treasurer, ANPA), Dr. Abraham Osinbowale (Chairman, ANPA’s Advocacy Committee), Dr. Ureh Lekwauwa (ANPA’s Advocacy Committee), Dr. Yele Aluko (Past President, ANPA), Dr. Alphonsus Obayuwana (Past President, ANPA), Dr. Julius Kpaduwa (Past President, ANPA), Dr. Fiemu Uwariaku (Immediate Past President, ANPA), Professor Ajovi Scott-Emuakpor (Chairman, Programs Committee), Dr. Acho Emeruwa (Chairman, Medical Missions Committee), Professor Wale Sulaiman (Chairman, Consultancy Committee), Dr. Eche Ezeanolue (Chairman, Education Committee), Dr. Tagbo Ekwonu (Chairman, IT Committee), Dr. Francis Achike (ANPA), Dr. Wale Okunlola (ANPA), Dr. Vitalis Unaeze (ANPA), Dr. Jacob Akoh (President, MANSAG), Dr. Nkere Ebube (President-elect, NAPPSA) representing Nigerian Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in America, Professor J.C. Azubuike (Chairman, MDCN), Dr.A.A. Ibrahim (Registrar, MDCN), Professor E.E. Okpere (NUC), Dr. Joshua Atah (NUC), Mr. Chris Mayaki (NUC), Dr. Bola Olowu (Federal Ministry of Health, Diaspora Desk), Dr. Alex Onoyona (Federal Ministry of Health), Professor Ade Adefuye (Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America), Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe (Consul-General, Atlanta).
The meeting was declared open at 2:20 pm by ANPA’s President, Dr. Mike Etomi. He thanked Ambassador Adefuye for coming and he paid a special tribute to participants from MDCN, FMOH, NUC, MANSAG and the Consul-Generals from Atlanta and New York, for attending the 20th ANPA Convention in general and this meeting in particular. He asked the participants to introduce themselves including their official positions/medical specialties as indicated. He gave a brief summary of ANPA delegation’s visit to Abuja in late February/early March 2014 and the delegation’s meetings with the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the joint Health Committees of the National Assembly of Nigeria’s Senate and House of Representatives and the National Universities Commission. He expressed ANPA’s burning desire to be involved in the delivery of quality health care to Nigerians and the need for collaboration between ANPA/MANSAG, Nigerian doctors practicing in Nigeria and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s health care delivery system. He reiterated the need for a sound Medical School curriculum and continuing education for practicing physicians. He highlighted the revised curriculum submitted for Medical Schools by ANPA. He then asked Professor Ajovi Scott-Emuakpor to start the discussion from ANPA’s perspective.
Professor Scott-Emuakpor, speaking as a former member of MDCN and former Chief Medical Director of a Teaching Hospital spoke about the need to standardize the quality and training of Nigerian doctors. Towards this end, he suggested the need to establish a standardized uniform examination (similar to the USMLE in the United States of America) for all Medical School graduates prior to licensure. He gave the example of Law School graduates who have to pass a Nigerian Bar examination prior to practicing law in Nigeria and Accountants who have to pass the ICAN examination before practicing as Chartered Accountants in Nigeria. He then delved into the Act establishing MDCN as a regulatory body for the practice of Medicine and Dentistry and the need for the body to take the issue of regulation of medical and dental practice and accountability of practitioners of the profession more seriously than is presently the case.
Professor Azubuike (MDCN Chairman) responded and admitted that there are gaps in the actions of MDCN especially regarding the issue of discipline and accountability of professionals concerning the standard of medical/dental practice. He stated that he has been trying to tackle the problem since he was appointed early this year (2014). He stated that the issue of discipline is hampered due to a lack of a constituted MDCN Board for nine years (1994 to 2003) and that there has been a heap of complaints since 2011. Other factors hampering the effectiveness of MDCN include the politicization of the body is that only the Chairman is appointed by the President and the remaining 61 members are ex-officio and have no streamlined appointment status. He stated that since he took office in January 2014, he has been working on the revision of the Act establishing MDCN but their work has been disrupted by frequent changes in the organization. His position was supported by the Registrar, Dr. Ibrahim, who has been with MDCN since 2001. Dr. Ibrahim also acknowledged the gaps in the area of discipline/regulation of medical practice but he said the newly constituted MDCN Board is addressing the gap and they welcome any role ANPA/MANSAG and other professionals in the diaspora can play.
Professor Okpere of NUC said his Commission is responsible for the accreditation of all Universities and Medical Schools and they are now in the process of utilizing the good curriculum submitted by ANPA to FMOH (among others) to come up with a good curriculum for all Medical Schools. He also stated that they received new curricular initiatives from Nigeria and other diaspora organizations and they are now in a position to roll out the new curriculum for Universities, especially Medical Schools. He stated that his organization recognizes the need for simulation training for practical/surgical training and they will like to work with ANPA/MANSAG and other health professionals in developing a good simulation training program for Nigerian Medical Schools.
L to R :Dr A Ibrahim (Registrar MDCN), Professor JC Azubuike (MDCN) and Professor E Okpere (NUC).
Dr. Olowu (FMOH) explained that the reason the new curriculum was submitted to FMOH instead of NUC is because of the presence of a Diaspora Unit which acted as the coordinating point for inputs from Federal Ministry of Education, NUC and FMOH but that the final decision of curriculum development rested with the NUC which is the parastatal charged with that responsibility.
L to R: Bola Olowu, mni (FMOH) Alex Onoyona, MD (FMOH) and Professor Ajovi Scott-Emuakpor
Dr. Akoh (MANSAG President) reiterated the need for all the parties (MDCN, NUC, ANPA, MANSAG) to work together in fashioning out a good program for the training and continuing professional development of our health care professionals. He gave the example of the work spearheaded by ANPA/MANSAG on the Joint Technical Committee which he headed and how the report of that Committee which has been submitted over a year ago has not been implemented. (it should be mentioned that the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, mentioned during his address to the Convention that the recommendations of the Committee will be implemented “soon”).
R to L : Dr. Jacob Akoh (President, MANSAG), Professor Ade Adefuye (Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America)
Professor Adefuye, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America expressed his support for the initiative and commended the decorum with which the discussion was progressing. He commended ANPA for bringing all the parties together and their concern for accountability in medical/dental practice in Nigeria. He gave an example of a personal tragedy that befell his family and the lack of accountability and who to hold responsible for the bad outcome.
Other participants in the forum talked about the need for all the stakeholders to work together for a better healthcare delivery system and outcomes in healthcare indices in Nigeria. It was resolved that all parties should continue ongoing communications through the various ANPA and MANSAG Committees towards the realization of the goals and objectives discussed during this meeting.
In the absence of further business discussions, the meeting was adjourned at 3:55 pm.
These minutes are subject to corrections and adoption.
Abraham Osinbowale, MD
Chair, ANPA’s Advocacy Committee