By Felicia Imohimi
The University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, has inducted and granted automatic housemanship to 43 medical graduates.
Prof. Bissallah Ekele, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), declared the offer at the third induction ceremony of the institution on Saturday in Abuja.
Delivering induction lecture titled “Public perception of medical practice in Nigeria: Time to change the narratives”, he noted that the offer of one year internship or Housemanship would encourage the graduands and ease them of the challenges in getting placement in health institutions.
“The Board of Management of UATH, under the Chairmanship of Dr Sam Jaja (The Balolo of Opobo Kingdom) has given approval for the 43 medical graduates to be given automatic placements for the Housemanship if you desire to do it in UATH,” Ekele said.
The CMD, who congratulated the new medical graduands, however noted that they have a big role to play in upholding or imbibing the ethics of the ‘noble profession’.
Speaking on the topic, the CMD frowned at the crises rocking the health sector and medical practice.
He identified the challenges in the sector as poor funding, poor management of limited funds, poor infrastructure, poor supervision by unit heads and consultants, poor attitude to work and poor relationship between the various professionals in the sector.
“The health sector and indeed medical practice in Nigeria is presently in crises. Almost everything is poor. Expectedly, the public perception of medical practice and of course the practitioners are also poor.
“Some of the terms and phrases used to describe the systems are not printable. These negative perceptions have immediate and late repercussions on practitioners and the profession,” he said.
Ekele, however, noted that in spite of these present challenges medical practice and the practitioners had made glorious past, citing examples with Dr Samuel Manuwa, among others that made significant impact in the past.
He said “Manuwa who graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1926 invented “Excision Knife’ to treat tropical ulcers’.
According to him, Manuwa back home was one of the Nigerian doctors that made remarkable impact, he was appointed Deputy Director of Medical Services as well as the first Nigerian to be Inspector General of Medical Services in 1948 and 1951, respectively.
The CMD, however, listed the way forward to the present challenges to include allocation of more funds to the sector in order to acquire modern equipment and uplift the infrastructure.
According to him, the way forward is to allocate more funds similar to TETFUND in the education sector in addition to the irregular appropriations.
He emphasised that “It is also imperative that government honour agreements with the unions to avoid disruption of services”.
Ekele challenged the medical graduates on hard work, honesty, humility and modest prayer against the fanatical prayers.
He frowned at the fanatical prayers of medical doctors to the detriment of their patients.
According to him, “fanatical prayers is not for us. We have heard of a medical officer on duty in a Casualty Unit who decided to first pray for an accident victim who was bleeding from broken limb and by the time the prayer was over, the patient passed on”.
“My colleagues, let us rededicate ourselves once again to the service of our people and mankind for it is through such service that we truly serve God.
“The medical profession is built on the foundation of altruism, integrity, accountability, duty, excellence, respect for others and above all compassion. With these, we can together reverse the negative narratives and return to past glory,” Ekele said.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of award to the best medical student, Dr Jeremiah Ogbu.