The National postgraduate medical college of Nigeria (NPMCN), Lagos, has disclosed its readiness to hold a hybrid of physical and virtual 38th convocation ceremony on January 28.
Stating this in Lagos, the president of the college, Dr. Musa Muhammed Borodo, said that the highest body responsible for postgraduate medical education in Nigeria for the production of the specialised medical, teaching and medical research manpower of the country would not relent in producing the best for the country.
He said: “To date the college has produced over 6000 medical consultant specialists for the country serving in many key hospitals university colleges of medicine and research institutes in Nigeria and abroad. By this, the college has saved Nigeria billions of dollars that would have been spent in postgraduate training of these personnel abroad.
“This convocation will hold by a hybrid of physical and virtual methods occasioned by the new normal dictated by the COVID 19 pandemic that has ravaged the world for over one year now without significantly being under control. This convocation is unique in many ways; It is the first to convoke graduates from three examinations rather than the usual two, it is taking place in the month of January rather than the usual September and is also taking place largely virtually without the usual handshakes and photographs all of these because of the exigencies of the corona virus pandemic.
“This convocation is also positively unique in presenting the Foundation Fellows of our College’s Faculty of Emergency Medicine, the 16th Faculty approved by Senate two years ago. Finally, this convocation is happily unique for presenting, for the first time in the history of the College, our foundation graduates for the postgraduate medical MD degree by publication that was approved by Senate in 2019, pursuant of the College’s mandate as provided for in the Acts that established it (Cap.N59 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004), which allows for the award of postgraduate degrees to deserving individuals, other than the award of fellowships and diplomas, which the College has been awarding since its inception.”
He explained that the convocation was also conferring our most distinguished award to three of its own.
On the COVID-19 pandemic,
Before proceeding further, he condoled with the world and Nigeria in particular for the suffering endured and the loss of life occasioned by the disease since it started.
His words: “Allow me also to recognise the diligence and commitment to duty shown by our Fellows and Associate Fellows that have continued, among others, to lead as frontline health workers in the fight against the pandemic sometimes at the expense of their lives. Finally on the matter of the pandemic, College, as it had done earlier, through its position statement to the public in August 2020, we would further like to urge the public to continue to observe social distancing, effective use of masks, regular hand washing and avoidance of crowd under governments’ firm leadership as panacea for the control of the pandemic while we pray and await the arrival of the corona virus vaccines in our shores.”
Taking a quick look at how the college has survived the last one year, the president said: “Activities of College during the last year were variously modified on account of the resultant national lockdown on account of the pandemic with most Faculty and College meetings and update courses undertaken online or virtually. Similarly, our April/May examinations were merged with the October/ November examinations and conducted under strict COVID-19 protocol.
“Our usual convocation for last year has been shifted to now while our 2020 ASCAF has been postponed to August this year. In all of these changes, I am most appreciative of the resiliency and resolve of Faculties and College staff in ensuring that our primary responsibilities of training and examinations were diligently attended to resulting in the presentation of granduants for this convocation.
“I am pleased accordingly to present the following categories of convokees for this year’s convocation ceremony: Three Fellows for the award of the distinguished fellowship award of the College as follows: Prof O B da Lilly-Tariah, immediate past College President, Prof S N C Anyanwu, former College Treasurer and Chairman MD Implementation Committee, Prof O A Atoyebi, formr College Registrar.
“13 Foundation Fellows of the Faculty of Emergency Medicine; 430 Fellows by examination from 15 Faculties of the College; 191 Foundation Postgraduate Medical MD awardees, by publication and 22 Diplomates in Anaesthesia by examination. This gives a total of 656 persons worthy of recognition at this year’s convocation ceremony.
“I am also glad to report that no less than 118 associate fellows of the College in our various accredited training institutions who have applied to enrol in the postgraduate medical MD program of the College by examination have met the minimum criteria for admission and therefore have been given admission into the program and have started this January. On successful defence of their thesis for the medical post graduate MD these candidates would be waved off the dissertation component of their subsequent Part II Fellowship examination such that at their exit from College they would be awarded the two qualifications. The foresight of Senate in this innovation is highly commendable and accordingly I urge as many of our associate fellows as possible to avail themselves with this unique though optional opportunity,” he said.
He revealed that in order to achieve the best result and to further strengthen academic excellence in the school’s academic programmes, the College has continued to improve on its training and examination processes through various innovations consistent with best international practice.
“Accordingly, Senate last year has approved an anti-plagiarism policy and has deployed a standard antiplagiarism check mechanism for the assessment of candidate at both the proposal and dissertation stages of Part II examinations.
“Similarly, Senate has approved evidence based verifiable standard setting methods as basis of determining pass in all College’s examinations consistent with best international practices effective from the last October/ November 2020 examinations.
“In its further resolve to provide additional opportunity for clinical skills acquisition for its associate fellows, as is now standard internationally, College has continued to make progress in the implementation of its simulation program.
“In this regard further to the launch of its simulation programme endowment fund in 2019, a Simulation Endowment Fund Raising Committee has been established in 2020 to reach out to various donors for support while various faculty simulation committees have been set up and faculty simulation needs identified. By March this year when the College central simulation centre on the third floor of the second phase of the Learning Resource building would be completed, training for faculty staff and subsequently residents would be kick-started.
“At this juncture, I appeal to Fellows and other identified well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to donate generously to the College simulation program endowment fund. Meanwhile, zonal simulation training centres are being identified and equipped so as to decentralise such training of our residents at minimal cost.
PROFICIENCY IN ATLS/ACLS COURSES
“Pursuant to Senate decision that proficiency in Advanced Trauma Life Support skills and Advanced Cardiac Life Support skills would be additional eligibility criteria for Part I examinations, College has trained adequate number of its Fellows at great cost, as providers of the ATLS courses and the American College of Surgeons has recognised our College as a certified provider of the course in Nigeria effective 2021 for our residents and others. Zonal trainings are scheduled to start this February God willing. Efforts are underway for College to achieve a similar provider status in the nearest future from the American Cardiac Association for the ACLS training in Nigeria,” the president said.
Continuing, Borodo stated: “College has continued to have regular meetings with sister Postgraduate Medical Colleges in the ECOWAS region as part of its collaboration in furthering postgraduate medical education in the region. We have recently advocated to the sister Colleges to establish antiplagiarism policy as is the case with our College to allow for more effective implementation across the region.
“Similarly, College is in collaboration with the Canadian College of Physicians and Surgeons in connection with our simulation programme while we have training MOUs with the University of Colorado in the USA and the Royal College of Pathology in the UK.
“In order to harmonise these on-going collaborative efforts and identify more opportunities elsewhere for our residents and young fellows across various Faculties, Senate last December approved the constitution of an International Training Collaboration Committee to oversee this effort.
“In 2020, College as regulator of the residency training Act in Nigeria through the support of the National Assembly and Federal Ministry of Health has succeeded in ensuring reasonable national budgetary provision for training of residents against 2021. College has also updated the current national list of residents in training at its website as required by the Act and is finalizing the up-loading of the harmonized national curriculum of training of residents. “Furthermore, residents who have overstayed in training have been identified for necessary easing out by their training institutions. It is hoped that these various efforts would speed up the residency training in Nigeria to allow opportunity for junior residents to join the training as and when due. At this juncture I appeal to government to keep faith with its budgetary commitment for residency training as well as provide College funds to do its regulatory work more effectively.
“Government is further urged to improve the employment opportunities and working environment of the graduated fellows in the country so as to discourage further brain drain that is steadily depleting the national of its critical well-trained health manpower.
FOCUS ON NATIONAL RESEARCH PRIORITIES
“College has continued to engage the Federal Ministry of Health in refining the National Priority Health Research Agenda to enable College key into this through the many research projects its residents undertake annually that would impact positively in addressing National health problems. In the same vein Education Trust Fund is urged to provide funding for national priority research projects being undertaken by residents of the college.
On capital projects, “I am glad to report that with the improved budgetary provision made for College’s capital project in 2020, the third floor of the second wing of College learning resources building that would host our simulation and ATLS/ACLS training centre would be ready by March this year. While thanking government for this financial support to our only capital project, started over seven years ago, we hope that further adequate budgetary provision would be made in 2021 for the long- awaited completion of the project to allow for its commissioning this year.”