The Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has withdrawn the accreditation given to Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba (ABSUTH).
The accreditation was withdrawn following some inadequacies the university regulatory body unearthed. The Teaching hospital is the training environment for the Clinical Medical Students and forms part of the teaching facilities.
With the new development, the School will no longer admit new students to study Medicine and Surgery.
Lamenting this, the Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Abia State chapter, Dr. Chimezie Okwuonu said it was disturbing that ABSUTH has lost its accreditation.
He noted that ABSUTH has been plagued by interrupted operations due to agitations and industrial actions by the workers over irregular payment of salaries. Okwuonu further revealed that as of the end of April 2022, the staff of ABSUTH was owed 25 months of salary arrears.
Revealing that labor union leaders have made several failed attempts to resolve the crisis in ABSUTH, he added that it was painful that after members of the NMA including Dr. Anagha Ezikpe, Prof JC Ogbonna, Dr. Elekwachi Nwogbo, all of the blessed memory, among others, labored to set up the Teaching hospital and secured its accreditation during the military era, all have gone under.
The statement read;
“It is really devastating news that the Medical School in ABSU has lost its Nigerian University Commission accreditation.
“What this means is that the school will no longer admit new students to study Medicine and Surgery in that citadel of learning,” the body said.
“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.
“For a considerable period, the teaching hospital, ABSUTH has been plagued by interrupted operations due to agitations and industrial actions by the workers over irregular payment of salaries.
“Currently, as of the end of April 2022, the staff in the ABSUTH are owed 25 months salary arrears.
“The Resident Medical Doctors have been on a 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.
“The NMA at both state and national levels, over the last 18 months, has met with the state governor for a record five times.
“The National President of the NMA, Prof. Ujah, visited the Abia state governor in November 2021 and hinted at the cumulated salary arrears of the workers and its impact on the morale of workers and training.”
Okwuonu also revealed that several agencies of the government had visited and discussed this issue, with promises made in all these instances but not actualized.
“If only the government and its agencies had listened and collaborated with the NMA and other unions, and the needful done, this loss of accreditation would have been avoided.
“Right under our nose, the labor of our heroes past is threatened as the Teaching hospital has remained largely nonfunctional and the accreditation for Medicine and Surgery withdrawn.”
NMA proposed seven steps that must be taken “to get the Teaching hospital fully functional to avoid losing the accreditation of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) which usually follows”, warning that “If we lose it, clinical training will stop and the students will be trapped in between.”
The statement added;
“There should be reasonable bulk payment of salary out of the 25 months salary owed; and regular monthly salary subvention containing two months’ salary, one for the index month and one for arrears until cleared”.