- Students of the College of Medicine at the Imo State University are forced to spend 10 years for a six-year course
- The college is not only taken over by weed, it has also failed accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC)
- While most parts of the vicinity is taken over by weed, students say they have made many efforts to make their plights known
It is not just about having inaccessible roads, alleged inadequate funding, and equipment believed to be obsolete, there are issues of poor remunerations for staff and consultants. Welcome to the Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) where students are said to sometimes graduate after 11 years.
IMSUTH's CHALLENGE IS SEEMINGLY UPHILL
When the teaching hospital was established in 2003, the driving narrative was to erect an enviable institution that will provide quality and state-of-the-art training facilities for consummate medical manpower and provide healthcare services to the people of the state and its environs, but that is far from the reality on the ground.
IMSUTH, a necessary training stop for students at the IMSU College of Medicine, now has academic and career stagnation in addition to its growing list of challenges as medical students under its watch now spend as much as eleven years studying medicine which should have been ordinarily six years.
The reason for the backlog of years the students spend, Legit.ng's regional reporter in Imo, Duru Victor, gathered, is because IMSU College of Medicine failed the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC) in 2017 - of course, the infrastructural rot in the teaching hospital largely contributed to this retrogressive academic failure.
While the students have continuously registered their displeasure over the various deficits that now bedevil IMSUTH by means of peaceful protests physically and on various popular social media platforms and dialogue with government and the necessary authorities, it seems the teaching hospital is one of the least of concerns to the government.
IT IS OVER 10 YEARS FOR A 6-YEAR COURSE
The president of the Imo State University Medical Students Association (IMSUMSA), Eke MacDonald, told Legit.ng's regional correspondent, Victor Duru, that he was in "900 level and counting," a subtle mockery of the number of years he had spent so far in the institution.
He noted that he marked his tenth year as a medical undergraduate student by September 2020, and risks spending extra five years trapped in IMSUTH should the university fail the forthcoming NUC accreditation exercise.
"Primarily we spend about 10 years or more for a six-year programme.
"The problem is that at the time of admitting students the school admitted more students than it had accreditation to graduate. IMSUTH has an accreditation quota of only 50 students for graduation by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to graduate doctors.
"Unfortunately, the average number of students per class is about 75. That means the quota of 50 is not even enough to graduate the entire students in a class. Students consequently have a backlog of years and cannot be pushed out due to the 50 quota."
He explained that since the institution lost the accreditation in 2017, there has not been any admission into medical school. The most junior class is 600-level students.
He further said he was sure that the NUC's plan to re-visit the institution for accreditation this 2020 was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Should they visit next year (2021) and the university fails to meet up with the requirements for a successful accreditation we (finalists) risk remaining in IMSUTH for an extra five years.
"We want to still plead with well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies who can help to join voices with ours and help us talk to Imo State government to do the needful."
To him, the students are tired, frustrated, depressed and now have tendencies.
MacDonald believes the government has not prioritised IMSUTH, describing it as the only health tertiary institution in the state. This, he said, has denied Imo the capacity of having over 150 new doctors to the already stretched healthcare system.
Efforts to get the institution's reaction to the issues were ongoing at the time of this report.
STUDENT SHARES HIS PAIN
Confirming these challenges, however, a vice president of the Student Union Government (SUG) of the tertiary institution, Comrade Nwokeocha Goodness, who is a 600-level medical student, told Legit.ng that by January 2021, final-year students will enter their 11th year in IMSU studying medicine and that is if the issues remain unresolved.
"It is a thing of pain, regret, and anguish on the part of the students. IMSU has a quota to graduate 50 doctors but ends up admitting about 100 students eventually leaving off the other ones to serve backlog years in medical school" he maintained.
"It is appalling that the 10 years one may have used to acquire a Ph.D degree is used in just acquiring a first undergraduate degree.
"We've met the vice chancellor on this issue but she made it clear to us that there's little she can do as the accreditation requirements are the responsibility of the state government, it beehoves on the government to provide funds to fix the anomalies".
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the Taraba State University (TSU) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has sought divine intervention over the prolonged strike action embarked by the body.
In a prayer session held at separate grounds on Tuesday, November 3, Christian and Muslim members of the chapter sought celestial control over the crisis that has long pitched varsity lecturers against the federal government.
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