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Egyptian doctor beaten up by colleagues in Yobe

His compatriots were said to be unhappy with him for writing series of petitions to officials of the Yobe State Government, the Egyptian ambassador in…

His compatriots were said to be unhappy with him for writing series of petitions to officials of the Yobe State Government, the Egyptian ambassador in Nigeria, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleging that some of the Egyptians were holders of diplomas but were employed in error as resident doctors.

He was said to have stated that by employing the ‘diploma holders’ as doctors and paying them between N540,000 to N640,000 as monthly salaries, the government was wasting money and endangering the lives of patients.

Dr. El-Asran, a consultant radiologist, told Sunday Trust that he was in UMTH for different medical examinations and prescriptions in continuation of treatment for the injuries inflicted on him by his countrymen who attacked him at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Damaturu where they work.

“They attacked me because I chose to expose the fact that about 10 of the 23 doctors contracted by the Yobe State Government in 2009 to provide health services in the state were diploma holders, parading themselves as resident doctors,” El-Asran said.

Yobe State Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Idrissa Machinama, however told Sunday Trust, “The allegations he (El-Asran) raised are unfounded. There are no facts to substantiate that the said Egyptian doctors are fake. We have not recorded any problem as a result of their prescriptions.”

Machinama said he knew of a ‘minor scuffle’ between El-Asran and ‘one of his fellow Egyptian doctor’, a position which El-Asran disclaimed insisting that he was mobbed by thirteen Egyptian doctors ‘right before many people’ at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Damaturu.

El-Asran related his version of the story, “while I was working in the doctors lodge at the hospital, one of them, Pharmacist Refat Essa challenged me verbally because I wrote letters and said most of them, 10 in number to be specific, have diplomas which do not make them qualified to practice as resident doctors because the Yobe Government’s advert in Egypt required that applicants should possess MRCP, Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, London, or its equivalent which are post graduate degrees and years of experience.

“Holding the diplomas acquired after nine months courses don’t meet the criteria. I said yes, I did write the letters to all those concerned because I wanted to change things for the better. Then Essa hit me and soon 12 others rushed out and joined him and kept beating me. Everyone saw it, even Mr Isa, P.A to the Principal Medical Officer, PMO of the hospital, Dr Usman Abdullahi was there and I reported the issue to the Nigerian Police C Division in Damaturu. The case is being investigated but some of them who assaulted me have started running away to Egypt. So I want their passports seized.”

The Yobe State Government had last year recruited Egyptian doctors and posted them to some General Hospitals in the state. The Government had said Nigerian doctors were unwilling to work in certain parts of the state.

However, shortly after their posting, stories began to spread that some of the Egyptian doctors were not ‘professionals’, that some of them had only undergone diploma courses in nursing in some medical schools in Egypt but were recruited as consultants and senior doctors by the Yobe State government.

Dr El-Asran who was employed separately from Egypt raised alarm after ‘discovering’ that some of the ‘Egyptian doctors’ recruited lacked the necessary capacity to diagnose diseases. He said that during the recruitments in Egypt one doctor who had served in Yobe misled the state’s selection team into accepting documents presented by some of the Egyptians which did not fall within the requirements of the government.

Though the Egyptian doctors accused of assaulting El-Asran refused to make comments, government officials in the health ministry blame El-Asran for the fracas between him and his colleagues. As a result, a letter was written banning him from the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital.

The letter addressed to Dr El-Asran and signed by the Principal Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr Usman Abdullahi, reads, “This is to inform you that the hospital management has decided to ban you from entering the hospital premises and the Egyptian Doctors’ Quarters due to the persistent problems between you and your Egyptian colleagues and other hospital staff, which is affecting the peace of the hospital. Pending government resolution of the issue, you are strongly advised to comply.”

The state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has equally raised an alarm over the activities of the Egyptian doctors which seem to tally with some of the issues raised by Dr El-Asran. But, the Commissioner for Health, Machinama said all the reservations raised by the NMA were unfounded.

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