The Nigeria Medical Students Association (NiMSA) between the 16th and 19th of February 2023, held her first National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting in the University of Jos (UNIJOS), Plateau State – the home of peace and tourism.
This event officially kicked started the new administrative year of the association under the leadership of her 46th National President – Ejim Clement Egba – with other national executive officers and delegates from various medical schools across the nation in attendance.
The council meeting titled, “Tin City Experience” and themed: “Medical Students as the Future of the Nigerian Health Sector; Bright, Blur or Bleak” began with an opening ceremony at the Richard Akinjide Hall, University of Jos Permanent Site. During which the President, Ejim Clement Egba (popularly known as Skillz), gave the opening speech and welcomed all the guests, speakers and student present at the event.
Following this, in the same vein, the Father of the Day and Provost, College of Health Sciences, University of Jos – Dr S. J Yiltok (who was duly represented by Dr Galam, the HOD of Physiology Department, College of Health Sciences, University of Jos) welcomed all participants as well, commended the association and highlighted that, “There is no better time to discuss this pertinent issue (the theme), than NOW and with students”.
During the keynote address by Dr Davwar M. Pantong (Consultant Gastroenterologist, Jos University Teaching Hospital – JUTH), he extensively spoke on the theme of the meeting and made references to the progress of some of his classmates from medical school – citing how far they have come – to buttress his point. Some of whom were now highly place across the health sector and in attendance at the event also.
He then explained that the future or impact of medical student through the course of their training or professional practice is “all about perception”. Emphasising that, “with the right mindset and orientation, students will see the vast opportunities available for them in the profession and the country, and all that would be left to do, is to capitalize on them”. He further mentioned that “the Japa-syndrome will always be there, until we make our place better”.
Other guest speakers present also contributed their quota to this important topic of discussion. One of the guest speakers, Dr Fabong Jemchang (DG PLASCHEMA) spoke on “Medical Student in Politics” and stated that, “if the-never-do-wells get into politics, the medical profession will suffer”. Another guest speaker in attendance, Aileen A. Blama (Plateau State Coordinator, National Health Insurance Authority – NHIA), spoke about the benefits of the insurance scheme for Nigerians, especially the Nigerian Medical students.
Other distinguished personalities who delivered their goodwill messages towards the association included: Dr. Artu, the president of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) JUTH Chapter; the Labour Party (LP) Gubernatorial Aspirant represented by Dr. Mairiga; Dr. Christopher Piwuna, the Acting Dean of Student Affairs, UNIJOS and National ASUU Vice President; and Dr. Khalifa Abdulsalam Ibrahim, NMA Chairman, Gombe State Chapter. As they all pledged their support to the student’s arm towards their involvement and becoming a force of development in the nation.
Likewise, during this ceremony, the Local Organizing Chairperson, Steven Bwetsha Jessica, and the NiMSA General Secretary, Glory Enoche Alapa presented the New Policy Document of NiMSA to the public. They gave a summary of its content (i.e., Standard Operating Procedures, Organogram and documents for the Standing Committee on Policy Implementation) following review. After which, the guest speakers at the event were invited to launch the document for implementation, and also as a standing document in the NiMSA Constitution.
After the opening ceremony, the NEC meeting – chaired by the president – moved on to discuss and deliberate upon several salient issues. Of utmost and sensitive importance is the concerns about the effect of the current Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Naira policy and the challenges faced by Nigerians, including the Nigerian (medical) students following this development.
In their message to the Federal Government (FG), CBN and Nigerians; the president and members of the NEC stated: “Greetings Nigeria. Surely, now we know how much government policies affect us and shows clearly, that power is still with the people. The Naira palava has deepened the difficulties faced by Nigerians, as well as the Nigerian students, who go through a great deal. Nigerians now use money to buy money and the rates differ. This is unendurable and a source of pain to Nigerians across board, but we hope for a new consideration and solution to the current Money-crisis, by the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria”.
Conclusively, the association’s leaders remind Nigeria(ns) of the opportunity at hand, in the forthcoming general elections, where new leaders and good government can emerge. Also, urging all Nigerian students to exercise their civic duties to Nigeria by voting right. While emphasising that the National University Council (NUC) tertiary institution break be utilised maximally to this endpoint.
This report was collated by Aniorjiude Fabian Ekene, NiMSA Director of Media and Communications, and submitted by Glory Enoche Alapa, NiMSA National General Secretary.