PIHAN CALLS 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. We include;
1. Dental Officers
3. Dental Technologists
4. Dental Therapists
6. Medical Doctors
7. Medical Laboratory Scientists
We appreciate the efforts the government, through the ministry of health , is making towards re-positioning the Nigerian health sector. It is obvious that the government means well for the sector. The timing of this letter is therefore very right to bring to the government’s notice, the peril and frustration prospective Nigerian interns/house officers are going through in a bid to secure placement for the program and complete their training.
The current system whereby 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:
1. 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.
2. Heavy interference by politicians and society elites. Nepotism is now the order of the day in the selection process, thereby constantly leaving out those who have no one to project them.
3. Extortion of money by some centres in the name of registration/interview fees.
4. Tribalism/ethnic discrimination in the selection process, resulting in several futile trips and wastage of resources.
5. Bribery and corruption in the current system. Some centres now sell the slots at varying prices to the frustrated prospective interns across the nation.
6. Multiple placements for the well/highly connected when several others are yet to secure any.
7. Endangerment of our lives on the Nigerian roads. This is so as every prospective intern/house officer journeys to wherever across the nation any centre 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.
8. Regrettable loss of lives from road traffic road accidents. The incidence of this sad fate, which should not be that of the prospective Nigerian intern, is on the rise.
9.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.
In order to bring sanity to this training program, we therefore request that the government through your office should intervene and put an end to our predicaments, and this should 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 teeming 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 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 trust that the government will look into this and oblige our requests. It will also be a step well taken in the right direction towards achieving the government’s re-positioning 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 intervention from you.
Please click HERE to sign the online petition demanding that the government regulates and restructures internship and housemanship programs in Nigerian hospitals