Studying medicine for 11 years will benefit Nigeria – Here’s why

The National Universities Commission’s decision to mandate medical students to spend 11 years getting trained, was met with some confusion and relative opposition.

With the new curriculum, a medical student must have graduated in either Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology before being admitted for the actual clinical training and ultimately, an award of Doctor of Medicine.

A former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Peter Okebukola, says the plan was long overdue.

He said the implementation of the initiative will bring an end to the issue of ‘baby-doctors’ and ultimately, help improve the health care system in the country.

In other parts of he world, he said, it was standard practice for medical students to have a first degree before embarking on medical training.

Professor Okebukola said the initiative would ensure that graduates emerging from the programmes were psychologically mature to practise with a high level of competence

Okebukola disclosed to Punch Newspapers, that the NUC must have subjected the modification plan to rigorous consultations, survey and long approval process.

“In the case of the anticipated change in the training of medical doctors, the process has taken about 12 years. I was executive secretary when we started the national needs assessment and experts’ survey, which revealed deficiencies in our medical education programme.”

“Thus, a consensus was reached by medical experts across the country that a key pathway to remediation is to adopt the global best practice in medical education of enrolling students not fresh from secondary schools but those with a first degree in disciplines allied to Medicine. After the first degree, they then proceed to the doctor of medicine degree.”

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