From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Abia State branch has said it was devastated over the news of the loss of accreditation by Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba (ABSUTH).
Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) was said to have last week, withdrawn the accreditation it gave ABSUTH, following some inadequacies the universities regulatory body unearthed.
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Lamenting the development, chairman of NMA, Abia State, Dr. Chimezie Okwuonu in a statement said it was disturbing that ABSUTH has lost its accreditation.
“It was really a devastating news that the Medical School in ABSU has lost its accreditation. What this means is that the School will no longer admit new students to study Medicine and Surgery in that Citadel of learning.
“While we do not have the detailed report of the cause of this huge loss so far, let me state that it may not be unrelated to the non functional state of the Teaching Hospital, the Abia State University Teaching Hospital Aba; which is a teaching facility for the Medical Students”.
Dr. Okwuonu regretted that for a considerable period of time, ABSUTH has been plagued by interrupted operations due to agitations and industrial actions by the workers over irregular payment of salaries.
He noted with dismay that as at the end of April 2022, the staff of ABSUTH were owed 25 months salary arrears.
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“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”.
Okwuonu informed that labour union leaders have made several failed attempts to resolve the crisis in ABSUTH.
“The Nigerian Medical Association at both State and National levels, over the last 18 months, have met with the State Governor for a record five times. The National President of NMA, Prof IAO Ujah visited the Abia State Governor in Nov 2021 and hinted on the cumulated salary arreas of the workers and it’s impact on morale of workers and training”.
Okwuonu said it was painful that after members of the NMA including Dr Anagha Ezikpe, Prof JC Ogbonna, Dr Elekwachi Nwogbo, all of blessed memory, among others, laboured to set up the Teaching hospital and secured it’s accreditation during the military era, all have gone under.
“Right under our nose, the labours of our heroes past is threatened as the Teaching hospital have remained largely non functional and the accreditation for Medicine and Surgery withdrawn”.
Okwuonu therefore appealed to the state government to get the Teaching hospital fully functional again to avoid loosing the accreditation of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), which he said usually follows that of NUC, if nothing was done.
The NMA chairman said if the MDCN’s harmer be allowed to fall on ABSUTH, clinical training will stop and the students will be trapped in between.