PROSPECTIVE INTERNS/HOUSEOFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA(PIHAN)
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 for completion before proceeding on NYSC, wish to draw your attention to the above subject matter.
~ Dental Surgeons
~ Dental Technologists
~Medical Laboratory Scientists
Firstly, we appreciate all governing councils and associations for all their hard works towards the promotion of the Nigerian health sector to greater heights. The health sector will not be where it is today if not for you. However, in our own struggle to get to the top as fresh medical graduates, we cannot but bring to your notice, the diverse breakdowns, restraints and unfair conditions a fresh medical graduate has to face in a bid to secure internship placement.
The current system in which a prospective intern/house officer is left to shop for placement personally has done medical training in Nigeria more harm than good. It is fraught with several challenges and anomalies amongst which are below:
i. Failure of centres accredited for the training to fully meet the quotas allocated to them despite having been deemed capable of training such numbers of interns every year.
ii. Heavy interference by politicians and society elites.
iii. Nepotism is now the order of the day in the selection process, thereby constantly leaving out those who have no one to project them.
iv. Extortion of money by some centres in the name of registration/interview fees.
v. Tribalism/ethnic discrimination in the selection process, resulting in several futile trips and wastage of resources.
vi. Bribery and corruption in the current system. Some centres now sell the slots at varying prices to the frustrated prospective interns across the nation.
vii. Multiple placements for the well/highly connected when several others are yet to secure any.
viii. Endangering our lives on the Nigerian roads. This is so,as every prospective intern/house officer embark on long distance journey to any state across the nation when any hospital calls for recruitment. Most times, those travelling from very far locations will have to embark on night trips to be able to make it to an interview.
ix. Regrettable loss of lives from road accidents. The incidence of this sad fate, which should not be that of the prospective nigerian intern, is on the rise.
x. Periodic (yearly or two-yearly) payment of fees for the renewal of licenses issued at graduation/induction upon failure to personally secure the internship placement before the expiry date on the previously issued license. We see this as nothing but a form of extortion and unfair treatment of a prospective intern.
The effects of the above challenges on us are not unimaginable. Medical training and practice in Nigeria now leave much to be desired.
Therefore, in order to bring sanity to this training program, we do request that the government through your office should intervene and put an end to our predicaments, and which should also apply to all future Nigerian prospective interns/house officers, through the following ways:
1.Government should direct the various license issuing bodies to institute a posting system similar to NYSC posting, whereby a prospective intern/house officer shall be given a minimum options of approved centres to choose from and shall be posted accordingly. This new model should start with all prospective interns/house officers currently seeking placement.
2.Government through the various license issuing bodies should enforce full implementation of approved quotas allotted
centres accredited for internship/housemanship training across the nation. This will solve the current problem of under-recruitment by the approved centres and cater for the frustrated prospective interns roaming the states of the nation in search of the “medical holy grail”.
3.Government should create an active organ of the Federal Ministry of Health solely committed to the smooth posting and other affairs regarding the training of all prospective interns and house officers in nation.
4.Government should maintain that the payer of salaries to interns/house officers posted to any centre in this new model should remain the same with this current model where accredited centres have the liberty of recruitment; and that such salaries should be in compliance with government approved salary scale/grade for the various departments.
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 we earlier highlighted. We also believe in the efficacy of the model in bringing to a permanent halt the agony we are currently going through.
We are ready to make clarifications on any aspect of this our letter as we look forward to a prompt and urgent intervention from you.
PROSPECTIVE INTERNS AND HOUSE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.
Sign (PIHAN President) Sign (For PIHAN Sec. Gen.)
Nigerian medical Association(NMA)
Medical and Dental Association of Nigeria
Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria
Nigerian Optometric Association
Medical Laboratory Science council of Nigeria
House of Representatives
Dietetic Association of Nigeria
National Society of Physiotherapists
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