By Steve Oko
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Abia State chapter, has blamed the loss of accreditation for admission of Abia State University Uturu, on the state Government, saying it is a sad development.
Chairman of NMA in the state, Dr. Chimezie Okwuonu in a statement, yesterday, said the loss of accreditation was not unconnected with the near-state of inactivity in the hospital occasioned by the poor welfare condition of workers.
Dr. Okwuonu who said the situation posed grave danger to the health sector of the state,
Lamenting that appeals and even protests by NMA for the State Government to pay at least part of the 25 months of salaries owed doctors in the hospital fell on deaf ears despite promises by Government.
“It was really a devastating news that the Medical School in ABSU has lost its Nigerian University Commission (NUC) accreditation. What this means is that the School will no longer admit new students to study Medicine and Surgery in that Citadel of Learning”, the statement said.
The statement made available to Vanguard in Umuahia read: “While we do not have the detailed report of the cause of this huge loss so far, let me state that it may not be unrelated to the non functional state of the Teaching Hospital, the Abia State University Teaching Hospital Aba; which is a teaching facility for the Medical Students.
“Let me clarify that the College of Medicine and the Teaching Hospital are the two principal players of Medical training in the University.
“The College is headed by the Provost who reports to the Vice Chancellor of the University. The Teaching Hospital is headed by the CMD and reports to the Governor via the Governing Board of the Teaching Hospital.
The Teaching hospital is the training environment for the Clinical Medical Students and forms part of the teaching facilities
“The NUC ensures teaching facilities are adequate for the number of Medical students admitted. These facilities include lecture rooms, laboratories, museums, teaching aides, teaching hospital etc. The NUC also looks into the staff distribution and qualifications.
“With challenges affecting service delivery in the Teaching Hospital, it is not surprising that NUC accreditation was withdrawn, although other factors might also be responsible.
“For a considerable period of time, the Teaching Hospital, ABSUTH, has been plagued by interrupted operations due to agitations and industrial actions by the workers over irregular payment of salaries.
“Currently as at end of April 2022, the staff in the ABSUTH are owed 25 months’ salary arrears. The Resident Medical Doctors have been on cumulative 18months strike, other health workers are also on strike while a few of the Doctors, mainly the Consultants, Medical officers and Locum staff, though not officially on strike, are largely not working as the work environment is not in order.
“The labour unions have made several failed attempts to resolve this. The Nigerian Medical Association at both state and National levels, over the last 18 months, have met with the State Governor for a record five times.
“If only the Government and its agencies have listened and collaborated with NMA and other unions and the needful done, this loss of accreditation would have been avoided.”
“Right under our nose, the labour of our heroes past is threatened as the Teaching hospital has remained largely non functional and the accreditation for Medicine and Surgery withdrawn.”
NMA proposed seven steps that must be taken “to get the Teaching hospital fully functional to avoid losing the accreditation of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) which usually follows”, warning that “If we lose it, clinical training will stop and the students will be trapped in between.”
“There should be reasonable bulk payment of salary out of the 25 months salary owed; and regular monthly salary subvention containing two months’ salary, one for the index month and one for arrears until cleared”.