The Federal Government says the Ministry of Health is to collaborate with the Ministry of Education to harmonise modalities and guidelines for the accreditation of teaching hospitals in Nigerian universities.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during a meeting with the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on Thursday in Abuja, said that it was extremely important for both ministries to work together.
Dr. Ehanire said health and education are the cornerstones of human capital development, adding that through education, doctors, nurses and all other staff of the health ministry are trained.
He said that the essence of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of bringing in more hospitals – private, state, military, local government-owned or even denominational hospitals.
“This is to determine standards that are going to be used for accrediting them and for them to take interns and to carry out housemanship. There are many people who have graduated and are waiting to be taken as interns but are yet to. This meeting will help us to expand the positions available for interns,” Ehanire said.
The health minister also said that on the question of residency training, two ministries are looking at the curriculum to see what is required to be added to the medical studies curriculum.
He said the possibility of harnessing the knowledge and skills of Nigerian experts and professors abroad to teach Nigerian doctors virtually or as adjunct professors, was also being considered.
“With universities for health sciences growing, we need more lecturers and professors. If we don’t have them in the land, we can through virtual technology, get professors outside the country.
“This will help to improve the quality of training to expand the scope of what we learn, and bring in modern cutting edge knowledge and technology into the health sector.”
Deputy Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Dr. Nnaemeka Nwankanma, said that over the years, there had been areas of misunderstanding as to how both ministries should contribute to the training of medical doctors in Nigeria.
“So what we have done here is to fine-tune and probably harmonise protocols that will allow for seamless training of doctors in Nigeria.
“This is so that both parties will understand that we are equal stakeholders and we owe our nation the responsibility to ensure that the training of doctors is done along international best practices.
“We are looking at better training of doctors in Nigeria to make them world-class,” he added.
Dr. Nwankanma said that though both ministries had, in the past, been in partnership over the issue of harmonisation , it is the first time they coming together on the issue.
This, he said, showed the political willingness to get things done right.
He noted that it was necessary to set the minimum criteria required for hospitals to qualify to become teaching hospitals.
The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, urged the two ministries to work closely together to improve medical education.
He said that NUC, while interacting with the medical educators, had been debating on the issue of internship in the last few years.
He also disclosed that in the past five years, all the relevant bodies had been working on the new medicine and dentistry curriculum.
Rasheed said that the curriculum would cover basic medical sciences and allied health sciences.
“All these we have not started implementing but they have been conceived in the spirit of the best global practice, also looking into our unique Nigerian situation,” he said.