No fewer than 903 foreign medical and dental graduates wrote the recent professional examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Tajudeen Sanusi, who disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the examination was for medical graduates who intended to practice in Nigeria.
Mr Sanusi explained that the essence of the examination was to properly assess the graduates’ professional competence before approving licence for them to practice in the country.
The registrar said the examination was monitored by external examiners from across the country in line with global best practice.
“It is a global practice that once you train in a jurisdiction other than yours and you find yourself in another jurisdiction and want to practice, there is the need to assess your level of competence so that you can be licensed to practice.
“This means that even those of us who trained and are fully registered in Nigeria, if we go to Ghana, we will have to sit for a similar examination and pass before we can be licensed to practice in Ghana.”
Mr Sanusi said the council would not give preference to any of the candidates, hence the choice of JAMB to conduct the examination.
He expressed the hope that all 903 candidates would be successful, particularly at a time when the country was in dire need of more doctors.
He, however, said in spite of the lack of adequate medical practitioners in the country, does not mean that the country should trade quantity for quality.
On the issue of quackery, he said the matter needed to be severely tackled by law enforcement bodies.
According to him, anyone who is found wanting and is not registered with the council is automatically a quack in accordance with its law.
“At best, we can only come in as a prosecution witness when such person is charged and arraigned before a court of law.”
Mr Sanusi, while noting that it was the third time the council was using the JAMB facility for the exercise, commended the board for giving providing a rancour-free and level playing field to all candidates.
Responding, Fabian Benjamin, Head of Information Department of the board, who spoke on behalf of JAMB Registrar, Ishak Oloyede, said it was the responsibility of the board to provide a transparent platform for credible examinations.
He said the board gives equal opportunity to ensure that candidates give their best during the examination adding that results are released promptly.
“It is not about the money but about credibility and ensuring that Nigeria stands out. We just want to have the best system because this is what is also practiced elsewhere.
“As an agency, we compete globally and so we want to present a credible system that anybody can come and make good use of.
“Once you tell us what you want and how you want it, we would do it.”
Mr Benjamin assured that the board, having upgraded its system to meet third party clients’ requirement, would do so with best intentions.
He, therefore, urged other agencies to patronise JAMB.