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PROFESSIONAL CLINICAL TRAINING LEVY: A DIRECT THREAT TO QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE

– By Titus Adeolu Adekunle

It might be a “World Health Day” all over the world but it has definitely not been a happy one for the students of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. As for the Administration, one cannot tell. The day marks the third day of the peaceful agitation of the students who commence a stay-at-home protest on Thursday after the inclusion of a “Profession Clinical Training Levy” of either 75,000 naira or 100,000 depending on the course of study and year of study as contained in the schedule of fees released by the University. Also, the schedule released revealed an upward review of the accommodation fee of the Alexander Brown Hall from 14,000 naira to 40,000 naira.

Acting on the rumours in the air before the release of the document, research carried out revealed that one in every three medical students (38%) was going to drop out of medical school if the fee is eventually enforced. The country is thus about to witness a spike in the number of her out-of-school children – a list the country currently tops. The general public might feel unconcerned as it seems they are not directly affected. They may be right. But it is only a matter of time quacks become omnipresent and competent doctors become unaffordable. Contrary to the usual saying that the study of Medicine is apprenticeship, the fee mocks the saying vividly stating that proficiency is can be priced and acquired – without the 100,000 naira, students are not going to be professional in healthcare delivery.

To the unconcerned populace, more abortion and mutilation centres are about to be opened in the country. Mortality from doctors’ negligence, who by the way never became doctors, will be on the rise. With this increment and statistical proof, these dropouts would seek to start practicing whether under an orange tree or just a shed with the little they have learnt in medical school this far. And when he himself his sick, he does not trust himself to help himself.

You know that irritating true saying, “the rich keeps getting richer and the poor keeps getting poorer”? The levy is going to be another reason as the gap between the rich and poor is about to get wider. “If your parents cannot afford sponsoring you through medical school, then you can at least hope your children can”, this is a saying attributed to the Provost of the College of Medicine, UI. Some other persons are with the opinion that medicine is not for the poor. The course which has been the “jinx breaker” for many families as success is majorly dependent of the level ground of intelligence is not only threatened by these words but also by the crafty invention of the fee. When this takes root, you do not have to think if your doctor is one of the best minds in the country but he is one of the fortunate ones.
In addition, you would not expect a doctor who trained with a 273% increment in fees to charge equally as the one that trained almost free of charge. Men and Brethren, it is only a matter of time before the knocking on the doctor’s door will cost more than the drugs he will prescribe. This would also create a price gap between privately practicing doctors from other Federal institutions who mostly pay a lot less and the graduates from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

In essence, the country is about to experience the unleashing of medical school drop outs to function as the first and best of quacks we will always dread. This time, it would be the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan churning them out in their numbers. After this, the cost of seeking health attention in private clinic would be off the roof – “for if my father has to sell his land to send me to school, you might have to sell your house to get me to work”. Finally, the best of minds end up on the street and the blessed in hands (rich) get to enter medical school. I wish the College all the best in getting them trained, for proficiency has a price, but it is not in Naira.

 

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Titus Adeolu Adekunle is a member of the Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan.

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