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Yobe:‘MBBS least qualification of Egyptian doctors’

He alleged that out of the 23 Egyptian doctors recruited, 10 had only diploma certificates rather than medical degrees. Dr. El-Esran therefore allegedly wrote petitions…

He alleged that out of the 23 Egyptian doctors recruited, 10 had only diploma certificates rather than medical degrees. Dr. El-Esran therefore allegedly wrote petitions to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, the state’s health commissioner, Idriss Bukar Machinama and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) asking for a probe of the recruitment process.

However, many stakeholders and authorities in the health sector have faulted El-Asran’s position as it emerges that the diploma certificates held by the ten Egyptian doctors were additional certificates to the MBBS degrees they already hold.

Alhaji Machinama, at a recent press briefing said all the Egyptian medical personnel recruited have completed their first degrees in medicine (MBBS) or pharmacy. In addition to this, all of them have additional post-graduate certificates in their various areas of specialisation and therefore wondered why El-Asran will tell the world that the Egyptian doctors had only diploma certificates.

Machinama said Yobe State resorted to recruiting foreign doctors only as a ‘matter of necessity’ to improve the healthcare delivery sector in the state. He said before the state opted for the foreign doctors recruitment option, advertisements were placed in various Nigerian newspapers for vacancies in the Yobe State health sector but the response was ‘very dismal’.

“In the advertisement, we said the take home pay was negotiable, which means we are ready to pay a good package, but doctors did not show willingness to come”, the commissioner said, adding that this prompted government to go ahead and recruit from abroad.  

Machinama lamented that before the arrival of the foreign doctors last year, there were only 31  doctors to the entire population of over two million people in Yobe State.

He said three categories of medical experts including consultants, senior specialists and senior doctors were recruited and their monthly packages range from $3,000 to $4,000. “We have to pay them this because they are contract staff who would agree to collect only similar to what they are getting in Egypt and other places”, Machinama said.

Documents obtained by Weekly Trust shows that the Egyptian doctors possess professional postgraduate certificates in addition to their MBBS degrees. For instance, Dr. Amer El- Baruwy, a consultant surgeon and one of those said to possess only a diploma certificate, has a Masters Degree (MD-equivalent) in his area of specialiastion.

It is the same with Doctors Mohammed Diaa, Emil Daniel and Adel Abdulwahab, all of them consultant gynecologists who have MS-equivalent certificates.

Two others, Mohammed Ibrahim (consultant surgeon) and Gamal Awad (Consultant Ophthalmologist) have PhD degrees from Russia while Mohammed Shaker, a consultant maxillofacial surgeon, has an MS- equivalent in dental surgery.

He said due process was followed in the recruitment of the Egyptians. “A committee made up of representatives from the health ministry, civil service commission and the House of Assembly was set up to recruit the doctors from Egypt. The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) was informed of this move”, Machinama said.

The commissioner said through the Nigerian Embassy, vacancies in the Yobe State health sector were advertised in Egypt and applications were received. The applications, according to him, were attended to by qualified medical doctors on the team with the help of an Egyptian medical consultant, Mohammed Yahya Hagge, who had previously worked in the state.

He said the initial intention was to recruit consultants only, but it was later resolved that there was need to recruit other doctors as well because their services are also needed.

Those recruited in this category include: Abdulhameed Ibrahim (Specialist Urologist), Mohammed el-Shamy (Specialist Gynecologist), Bostani Nooman (Specialist Anesthetist), Samir Gamgom (Specialist Pediatric), Ahmed Saber (Specialist Chest), Garber Hussaini (Specialist Dentist) and Refat Essa (Pharmacist).

“All the doctors recruited were certified as registrable by the Egyptian medical regulatory body, The Egyptian Medical Syndicate”, he added.

Asked why the state government decided to terminate the appointment of Dr. El-Asran, the commissioner said, “we found his allegation that the doctors are not qualified as false and mind boggling”.

The commissioner however said in order to actually ascertain the claims, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has set up a four-man medical committee to look into the issues raised by Dr. El-Asran.

According to the commissioner “the committee is headed by the Governor’s Special Adviser on Health, Dr. Sani Chiromari, with Dr. Mamman Mohammed, Special Adviser on Environment and Dr. Sule Mamudo, the Executive Secretary, Health Management Board, as members and Alhaji Lawan Gajirima, as secretary.

He said the committee has met and discussed with the Egyptian doctors, representatives of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the principal medical officers of the hospitals where the Egyptian doctors are working.

The commissioner said the committee has concluded its work and has also submitted its report. “Suffice it to say that Dr. El-Asran’s allegation are false and unfounded. The committee’s decision to recommend the termination of his contract was as a result of a review of his attitude and disposition which run contrary to the ethics of the medical profession and to the kind of conduct expected of an expatriate and contract staff”, the commissioner said.

On his part, Dr El- Asran who is still recuperating at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) after a scuffle with some of his Egyptian colleagues, is reported as trying to go to court to challenge the termination of his appointment by the Yobe State government.

El-Asran said he will be asking the high court to order the constitution of an independent panel with senior medical professionals from key hospitals, representatives of professional bodies and those of Yobe State government, to assess the credentials of all the 23 doctors, including himself and subject them to examinations.

He claimed that the Yobe State government’s advert in Egypt required that applicants possess Membership of Royal College Physician (MRCP), London, or its equivalent which are post graduate degrees and years of experience as medical consultants, but said some of the doctors do not have such qualifications or its equivalent.

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