NUC clarifies relevance of medical PhD, Medicine Fellowship


The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, has made the clarification on the controversy between the recently introduced Doctor of Medicine programme and the original Medicine by Fellowship programme, saying one can never replace the other.

He noted that the Doctor of Medicine programme was introduced for an entirely different purpose from the original medicine by the fellowship programme.

Rasheed gave this clarification at a meeting with the leadership of the National Postgraduate Medical College (NPMC), led by the President, Professor Akinsanya Osibogun, to his office, in Abuja.

He explained that based on current trends, there must be a way to encourage research in clinical sciences by professionals like medical scientists, pathologists, non-clinical dermatologists, non-clinical medical laboratory scientists, biochemists, medical microbiologists and professions that go under the cover of health science to be allowed to make publications from their research capable of bringing about solutions to the revolutionary health issues on health.

He added that there was also the discovery of a strong relationship between PhD and quality services in every sector.

According to him, the researchers should be awarded a doctorate degree based on quality publications from research made in any specific core clinical area.

While wishing the president of the college a successful tenure, he assured the team of NUC’s commitment to strengthening the already existing relationship between them,

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He commended the president and the college in particular for continuously bridging the gap in the profession in line with trends in order to ensure that those coming behind find a robust health sector that could give them the best skills to operate effectively within the country and internationally.

Rasheed stressed on the need to have a comprehensive picture of the status of medical education in the country, which, he said, had triggered the urgent need for an inspection visit to medical universities by the commission, to ascertain their current state.

He disclosed that all pending medical universities’ committee reports would be looked at by a committee of medical experts and non-medics while the position on the matters as taken by the commission would be communicated to the concerned universities.

This, he said, would go a long way in impacting more positively on medical education in the country.

The Executive Secretary said that just last week he received the provost of the Colleges of Medicine in West Africa and the highlight of their discussion was the new Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS) and the commission’s resolve to not restrict the MBBS and dental programmes to the 30 per cent freedom for innovation given to the other 16 disciplines.

This, according to him, was to grant them the flexibility of uniformity and variations because human environments differ.

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He suggested that due to the peculiarities of each environment, medical professionals should be adventurous in creating some differences to justify the social and economic peculiarities of the environment in the programmes were taught.

He said for 44 years now, Nigeria remained one of the few countries that still operate a regimented approach to how its university curriculum was designed, adding that there will be a gradual shift to the modern approach to designing curricula but for now, NUC still maintains 70 per cent uniformity in the new CCMAS.

The president, of National Postgraduate Medical College, in his remarks, thanked the Executive Secretary for granting them an audience and commended him for the innovations he had brought to university education in the country.

He said the transition in the education sector is very necessary in order to keep education relevant to its benefactors.

He commended the NUC boss, for his support for the introduction of (the Doctor of Medicine) MD programme, which, he explained, was not equivalent to a medical fellowship because the postgraduate medical programme in Nigeria had already been designed to include doctoral training.

He explained doctoral training to mean having the ability to acquire the context of knowledge in addition to vocational training and leadership.

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Osibogun said it was necessary to understand the current realities and environment in which the universities operate, explaining that although Nigeria followed the footsteps of the Western way of practising medicine, the NUC saw the need to design the Doctor of Medicine programme to respond to the Nigerian situation due to its peculiarities.

He said the MD by publication programme was not awarded in Nigeria alone as it was achieved through a residency training programme and then meeting some course requirements.

He also revealed that since its advent, the programme had enjoyed very wide acceptability.

Giving updates about the programme, the NPMC president said there were additional courses that they intended to bring on board to the programme which the academy was seeking for NUC’s guidance and support in developing, adding that it will improve postgraduate medical education in Nigeria.

The immediate past president of the College, Professor Musa Borodo, appreciated the executive secretary for granting them the approval to run such a unique programme which had been widely accepted with many students applying to have an MD before their fellowship.

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