Why ABSUTH Lost Accreditation, And How It Could Regain It In Three Months-Dr. Okwuonu

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Abia State University, NMA, Abia Chapter has expressed its concerns over the avoidable monumental loss of accreditation for admission into Medicine its university.


Dr. Chimezie Okwuonu ( MBBS, FWACP, FMCP, Phd) in a report on behalf of the NBA tagged “what went wrong and what we can do” stated that it was a devastating news that the medical school in ABSU has lost its Nigerian University Commission (NUC) accreditation which consequently meant that it will no longer admit new students to study Medicine and Surgery in that citadel of learning.


According to him, the loss of the accreditation although not substantiated might not be unrelated to the non functional state of the Teaching Hospital Aba; which is a teaching facility for the Medical Students. Clarifying that, he noted that the College of Medicine and the Teaching Hospital are two principal players of the Medical training in the University. The Teaching Hospital is headed by the CMD and reports to the Governor via the Governing Board of the Teaching Hospital, and it is the training environment for the Clinical Medical Students and forms part of the teaching facilities.

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Continuing on that, he said that the NUC ensures teaching facilities which include lecture rooms, laboratories, museums, teaching aids, teaching hospital etc, are adequate for the number of Medical students admitted as well staff distribution and qualifications but added that with challenges affecting service delivery in the Teaching Hospital, it was not surprising that NUC accreditation was withdrawn.


His Words “for a considerable period of time, the teaching hospital, ABSUTH, have been plagued by interrupted operations due to agitations and industrial actions by the workers over irregular payment of salaries. Currently as at the end end of April 2022, the staff in ABSUTH are owed 25 months salary arrears. The Resident Medical Doctors have been on cumulative 18 months 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”


He revealed several visit and attempts made by Labour Unions, The Nigerian Medical Association at both State and National levels, The National President of NMA, Prof. IAO Ujah, mni, to Abia State Governor, over the last 18 months, and promises were made made him but it went unfulfilled.


He noted that if only the government and its agencies had listened and collaborated with NMA and other unions and did the needful, the loss of accreditation would have been avoided.


Okwuonu, expressed disappointment that the Medical school and Teaching hospital were set up by members of the Nigerian Medical Association during the tenure of Col Anthony Obi as the military administrator, Dr Anagha Ezikpe, Prof JC Ogbonna, Dr Elekwachi Nwogbo, all of blessed memory and some others living like Dr Basil Obasil, Chief Jerry Kalu etc fought hard to see that the Teaching hospital hospital and facilities were up to standard with the requisite accreditation right under our nose, the labours of those of our heroes past is threatened as the teaching hospital have remained largely non functional and the  accreditation for Medicine and Surgery withdrawn.


He outlined seven steps which if adhered to will get the teaching hospital fully functional with seven expected outcomes. They include;


1)  Reasonable bulk payment of salary out of 25 months salary owed


2) Regular monthly salary subvention containing two months salary, one for the index month and one for arrears until cleared.


3) A committed approach to solve some management and training issues in the teaching hospital, department by department. A critical look at 6Ms of Management- Manpower, Materials, Machine, Money, Maintenance, Monitoring, Engage the ABSUTH alumni to partner in delivering diaspora services, skill transfer and enhance oversee training for the Resident Doctors.


4) Residency training need to be supported and overhauled. Supported-payment of exam fees, update course fees, residency training act. Senior Residents should be supported to complete their dissertation and go for exams. Retain them immediately they pass.


5) Grant waiver for employment so as to convert all locum staff to full time staff under pay of Government and stop the the concept of Locum staff.


6) Government or designated banks takes over the service payment points which ab initio, need to be digitalized.


7) Have regular town hall meetings with the staff, unions and management.


He stated that the these measure will result to;


1)  Intact MDCN accreditation as the hospital is active and the restoration of NUC accreditation in 3 months time before next JAMB admission if we get to work now.


2)  continuous  training of the students available till graduation. Some classes are really up to 2 sets as. So we shall we not be exposed, for now, to low students number.


3) Increase the revenue base over time, especially if the 6Ms are critically looked into which will help to solve the problem that no money enters the coffers of government from ABSUTH. Let the government be directly involved in revenue operations and keep to its own part of input.


4) Reduction in industrial disharmony as the Unions will periodically be carried along in some happenings and challenges without suspecting any one.


5) Increase service delivery, staff enthusiasm, patient load, clinical training, research output, alumni involvement, excellent health care delivery, improved security and etc.


6) Discipline can be meted out to erring staff who is regularly paid. Reduction in “patient diversion” due to available services.


7) We shall be happy with it.


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