A CALL FOR THE RESTRUCTURING AND REGULATION OF THE COMPULSORY ONE YEAR INTERNSHIP/HOUSEMANSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM IN THE HEALTH SCIENCES VIS-A-VIS FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF QUOTAS ALLOCATED TO ACCREDITED CENTRES FOR THE TRAINING.
The above named association, which comprises all graduates of human health sciences whose training requires a compulsory one-year internship/housemanship program before proceeding on NYSC, wish to draw your attention to the above subject matter. We include:
1. Medical Doctors
2. Dental Officers
3. Dental Therapists
4. Dental Surgeons
5. Dental Technologists
9. Medical Laboratory Scientists
Sir, we appreciate the efforts government, through the ministry of health under your watch, is making towards repositioning the Nigerian health sector. It is obvious that you mean well for the sector. The timing is right therefore to bring to your notice the peril and frustration we prospective interns/house officers are going through in a bid to secure placement for the program and complete our training.
The current system whereby a prospective intern/house officer is allowed to shop for placement personally has done medical training in Nigeria more harm than good. It is fraughted with so many challenges and anomalies amongst which are:
1. Endangerment of our lives on the Nigerian roads: This is so as every prospective intern/house officer journeys to wherever across the nation a centre calls for recruitment. Most times, those traveling from very far places will have to embark on night trips just to make it to an interview
2. Regrettable loss of lives from road traffic accidents. The incidence of this sad fate is on the rise.
3. Extortion of money by some centres from unemployed health professionals in the name of registeration/ interview fees.
4. Heavy interference by politicians and society elites. The system is now fraughted with a very high rate of nepotism in the selection process, thereby constantly leaving out those who have no one to project them.
5. Tribalism/ethnic discrimination in the selection process, resulting in several futile trips & wastage of resources.
6. Bribery & corruption in the current system.
7. Periodic (yearly or two-yearly) payment of fees for the renewal of the provisional practising licenses upon failure to personally secure the internship placement before the expiry date on the previously issued license.
8. Multiple placements for the highly connected when many others are yet to secure any.
Sir, the effects of the above challenges on us are not unimaginable. Medical training & practice in Nigeria now leaves much to be desired. Needless to mention the brain drain birthed by these unattended man-made problems.
In order to bring sanity to this training program, we write to request that the government through your office should put an end to our predicaments, and it should apply to all future Nigerian prospective interns/house officers, through the following ways:
I. That government should henceforth (starting with us) institute a posting system by the various license issuing bodies (similar to NYSC posting), where every prospective intern shall be given a minimum options of approved centres for the one year training program in any part of the country to choose from and shall be posted accordingly.
II. That government through the various license issuing bodies should enforce full implementation of approved quotas alloted to centres accredited for internship/housemanship training across the nation. This will cater for the teeming prospective interns roaming the states of the nation in search of the “medical holy grail”.
III. That government should create an active organ of the Federal Ministry of Health solely committed to the affairs of all prospective interns/house officers.
IV. That salaries paid to interns/house officers posted to any centre in the new system will be paid by the primary employer of labour in that centre; and the salaries will be in compliance with the approved salary scaling system for the field such an intern belongs to.
We humbly seek the adoption of this new model because of its manifold benefits to medical training in Nigeria as against the current system faced with the numerous daunting challenges earlier highlighted. We also believe in the efficacy of the model in bringing to a halt the agony we are currently going through.
Sir, as you have always done, and as a highly revered mentor in the medical profession, we trust that you will oblige our requests. It will also be a step well taken in the right direction towards achieving your repositioning campaign of our ailing health sector.
We are ready to make clarifications on any aspect of this our letter as we look forward to a prompt and urgent response from you.
Thank you Sir.
Sign (PIHAN rep)