Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Agony of Unemployed Medical Graduates

I'd like to share an insightful post on the plight of newly graduated medical doctors in Nigeria with you.

The article was written by KenKesh on Nairaland and I could not help but agree with many of the points raised in his article. See what he wrote below:

"It is no longer news to the world and especially to Nigerians, the rate and vigour with which corruption in its different forms has invaded every facet of Nigeria's institutions. It seems to have become part of the genetic composition of most Nigerians if not all.

An aspect that inevitably affect youth development and empowerment is worth discussing taking the medical sector which plays a critical role in nation building and economic development:

1) Collection of mandatory levy from applicants --- this usually happens before the submission of applications for job interview, jobs that the applicant is not sure he/she will get.

While the present government is planning to alleviate poverty by paying the unemployed youth some token for their upkeep, these employers - so called government workers and heads of institutions - set up their own wicked strategies to impoverish these unemployed teeming number of medical and health graduates by collecting huge sums from them before allowing them to sit for job interviews.This is so common most especially among the teaching hospitals in the western and south-eastern part of the country.

Just last year(2015), UCTH and UPTH collected N5000 from newly graduated doctors for their interview. The same year UNILORIN Teaching Hospital collected the same amount for the same reason of job interview, LASUTH charged the same amount. Many other hospitals did the same.

Currently, Ekiti State Teaching Hospital is collecting N5000 (being the price of the application form) from these newly graduated medical doctors. Bear in mind that these fresh doctors have to do their one year mandatory internship programme. They have temporary licences and must do this within a limited time. They are entirely on their own and must compete with one another and with doctors trained abroad for the few placements available in the qualified hospitals.

These graduates will not only pay the mandatory fee, but will also risk their lives transporting themselves to the various venues of these interviews, lodge in hotels and cater for themselves etc. Where will they get funds and supports from knowing fully well that they are yet to start work, implying that the burden still falls back to their parents and guardians who must have spent enormously in seeing them through medical school. Why do these MDs and CMDs, want to further impoverish the already poor young graduates before giving them their rightful placements? Is it what the Federal Government asked them to do? These question demand urgent answers!

2) The epidemic of I.M (ima mmadu OR to know somebody) in Nigerian employment system:

Merit is no longer recognised in the Nigerian employment system. After paying a heavy application fee, working hard to pass an the interview, you still are not sure of getting the job unless you know somebody or somebody who know somebody within the institution who can secure the job for you. For example, how can the best graduating students of reputable colleges of medicine go for interview at institutions different from their alma mater & not even one of the best ten graduating students get placements. You have to know some body before you can get a job. Those that don't know any body are automatically hopeless.

How can you explain the fact that someone re-sitting his final exams (ie he has not yet graduated, has no license and can not apply for internship) nevertheless participates in the job interview organized by his alma mater and gets a placement ahead of those that have graduated.

The situation is really discouraging hard work among youths, since hard work is no longer recognised. NAUTH has been delaying the list of succesful candidates, presumably because of the same reasons.

3) Buying of placements:
Here, the employer will collect application fees, conduct interviews, cast all the result of the interview into the waste paper basket and then commence the phase of auctioning the placements. Huge sums are unofficially/covertly collected from the employees before employing them. In UNTH and ESUTH, many have had to pay at least N150,000 and above before they could get housemanship . Is this part of the Youth Empowerment Programme?

4) Ghost workers in Nigerian employment system:

This particularly refers to a situation where an institution accredited and financially equipped to employ for instance 200 workers, decides to employ about 150. It then takes appropriate measures to secure the salary of the other 50 for the boss' pocket.

Ghost workers exist almost everywhere in Nigerian institutions. Take the case of UNTH that is budgeted to employ/train 180 house officers, but only employs about 120-125, with about less than half of them being their own graduants while the rest are abroad-trained doctors who heavily lobbied themselves into the system.

This creates artificial scarcity of jobs, making it difficult and impossible for all the graduates to promptly do their mandatory one year internships. Just as happens during artificial fuel scarcity, these wicked MDs and CMDs enrich themselves grossly from these situations.

Another phenomenon probably unique to medical internships is the possibility of doing the internship more than once. The salary is attractive and there is lack of nationally centralized control over the internship programme. With the appropriate corrupt means at the individual's disposal, he/she can get a fresh placement in a different hospital and can do multiple internships. This obviously denies fresh graduates their rightful placements.

It is clear that our senior colleagues, our leaders, our fathers and our elders in privileged positions are the very ones frustrating the youths of this country.

What is happening in the medical sector is pitiable! The role of our CMDs is scandalous! The practice of young interns who block their unemployed colleagues from getting slots by doing internship over and over again to make more money is totally wicked and punishable by Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria(MDCN). The silence of MDCN on the ongoing mess is the height of negligence of duty to protect the profession from ridicule! Finally, the inability of young medical graduates to articulate their experiences and speak out to the authorities is an act of timidity. Evil thrives when good men fail to speak up! I just weep for our corrupt generation.

Let this serve as a clarion call to all individuals and agencies capable and responsible for looking into matters such as these to come to our rescue.

Thanks. God bless Nigeria

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