UIMSA is going great guns as it hosted one of the most pertinent topics in the mind of almost every UIMSAite, Postgraduate Pathways and opportunities. Nigeria is in a mess! And the messy situation of things in the country, has not in any way been merciful to UIMSAIites. Infact, it can be argued that the Nigerian educational system is against the growth and development of medical students and health workers. These, and many other reasons are why many UIMSAites have it at the back of their mind to “Japa” out of Nigeria. In an attempt to flee from this hell on earth, called Nigeria many UIMSAites are exploiting different opportunities and pathways, both physically and spiritually, available for them in furthering their academic pursuits in almost every other country that is not Nigeria. Hence, the immense need for clarity and direction. The immense need for a programme like this could not have been over-emphasized. Apparently, the present UIMSA administration has now begun to retrace their steps. This is in terms of organizing programmes that are in tune with the needs of UIMSAites and not just “another programme”, as it has long been with previous UIMSA administrations and to a reasonable extent, this one.The programme which was held virtually gained the attention of many UIMSAites. In fact, it was reported that non-UIMSAites were hustling to get the link to join the programme. This shows just how much many UIMSAites want to leave the country. Even the uninvited hackers tried to join the programme. It can be said that the programme was worth the hype. This has not been the case with a number of other UIMSA programmes. It can be inferred that the UIMSA academic committee, led by Mr.Ugah Anthony went all out in the organization of this programme. A handful of UIMSAites that has succeeded in making it out of this country, Nigeria were only a few things ever happen, were invited to this programme. Could it be that the programme was quite successful because we saw very familiar faces that could relate to the everyday plight and struggles of UIMSAites?
The programme was scheduled to start at 4pm.It however started at about 4.10 pm, with over 100 participants at this time. The programme was moderated by Miss Theodora Nebo, who had the poise of someone that has been doing that job for a very long time. So much talents in UIMSA! It was a Panel session discussion with, Dr. Benjamin Eromosele (Resident, Boston), Dr. Nwaduru Chinedu(Grad Student, Oxford), Dr. Ore Arowojolu (MPH, Yale), and Dr. Tofunmi Omiye (Grad student, Stanford) all of College of Medicine ,University of Ibadan, 2K15 set who have left the shores of the country and currently doing exploits in their programmes abroad. Could it also be that the programme was a success because UIMSAites did not want to miss the opportunity to “Bam bam” with some of the UIMSA Alumni who have made it to some of the top schools in the world?
The President of UIMSA, Mr. Olaoluwa Olorunfemi gave insight into the need for the programme and other things being planned by him and his team for UIMSAites. We sincerely hope the future plans out do the success of this programme. Miss Theodora introduced each of the panelists and explained to everyone, how the session is to progress. Each of the panelists were asked preselected questions and they gave their reactions. In this part of the article, we would try to bring some of the details of the questions and the answers given ,as much as possible.
The first question asked was about the time each of them started preparations for postgraduate studies abroad. Most of them stated that they started during their electives in 500 level and their final year of Medical school. A question was asked about how they score\grade International Medical Graduates for these postgraduate opportunities. The common response was that applicants were considered more holistically, than just their academic performance. Being as competitive as possible was agreed upon by all. Other things mentioned were decent letters of recommendation, focused participation in research, extracurricular, electives and a decent transcript.
A question was raised on whether research work is a necessity to be qualified for these opportunities. It was stated that although, it is not compulsory, it is advisable. It was also stated that it gives the International Medical Graduate an edge over other graduates. It was also mentioned that research experience could be from case reports, joining field trips, publishing papers and having a research mentor.
A question was asked on if there have been any new developments or things to note Post-COVID. The response was that most of the processes are now online and this makes it easier to do and learn. One of the panelists, also stated that the world is now more compassionate towards students from developing countries. It was also said that it also pays to reach out to specific schools and attending their conferences and webinars.
Lastly, the panelists were asked to share some of the challenges they have faced after getting these opportunities. The similar experience mentioned by each of them was that it could sometimes get lonely. But we all know that it is better to be lonely in “heaven” than to be with many familiar faces in “Hell” (This is just by the way).Others challenges highlighted include settling into a new environment, cultural diversity, funding and racism. Some other questions were raised by the participants and the panelists answered each of the questions
The meeting lasted for over two hours with of participants over 300.The meeting came to an end with the panelist sharing their email accounts for those who want to reach out to them. The participants expressed their gratitude to the panelists for an insightful programme.
The programme was described by many as educative and really helpful.Mnany UIMSAites also be said that the present UIMSA administration has achieved a great feat with this programme. Many UIMSAites have expressed their desires for many other programmes that would surpass the feat of this one, in the nearest future.