The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has decried the long delay by the federal government to reconstitute the board of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
The MDCN has been without a board for more than three years since President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved the boards of federal agencies, most of which were early this year reconstituted.
MDCN regulates the training of doctors and dentists and their practice in Nigeria. Without a board, it cannot put its members on trial or probe petitions against them.
The board also determines the standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the medical or dental profession and reviews those standards from time to time as circumstances may permit.
It also keeps the register of persons entitled to practice as members of the medical or dental profession and publishes from time to time the lists of those persons, among others.
NMA, an association of medical doctors and dentists, had on September 30 issued an ultimatum to the government after it reneged on its promise to create the board two months ago.
On Independence Day, the association extended its ultimatum for another two weeks, which expires on Sunday.
“We wish to state that despite our communications with the federal government, the council that regulates medical practice in Nigeria still remains unconstituted”, NMA president, Francis Faduyile, said in a statement on Thursday.
NMA expressed disappointment that with the failure to constitute the regulatory body, healthcare delivery to Nigerians is “being gambled with.”
“The Nigerian Medical Association feels pained that the healthcare delivery of the Nigerian citizens is being gambled with. The association expresses her displeasure over this development despite repeated appeals to re-constitute the council of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) over three years after its dissolution.
“It is worthy of note that the act setting up MDCN reiterated that “the council shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession’’ as clearly stated in the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap M8.
“Over the years, we have been alerting the public on the increasing rate of brain drain and medical tourism, coupled with the fact that the health sector is not regulated.
“In view of the foregoing, and following our earlier notice to the Government to set up the MDCN council on or before 14th October 2018, we wish to state that the Nigerian Medical Association may not be able to guarantee the calmness that the health sector has been experiencing.
“The NMA as the custodian of the peoples’ health believes that a sector that is not well regulated is prone to quackery and this has a debilitating effect on the health care of our citizenry.
“The NMA wishes to also call on our political gladiators to endeavour to make health a key agenda in their political manifestoes as a nation’s strength can only improve when the health indices of the nation is improved”, Mr Faduyile said.