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  • 2019-10-11 13:09:37

ANATOMISTS SEEKS LAW ON ACQUISITION, USE OF CADAVERS

The National President of the Anatomical Society of Nigeria, Prof. Teresa Ekanem has called for the enactment of a law to grant license to Medical Schools to enable them acquire and use cadavers (dead bodies). Prof Ekanem made the call at the University of Calabar Senate Chamber during the 16th Annual Scientific Conference/Annual General Meeting of Anatomical Society of Nigeria (ASN) with the theme, “Anatomy Education: ‘’Implication for National Development’’, She said the law was necessary in view of the difficulties encountered by anatomists in acquiring cadavers for experiment. According to her, the ASN is already working on the amendment of the 1993 Anatomical to ensure that licenses are obtained to open Departments of anatomy. Prof. Ekanem who is also the Deputy Provost of the College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, frowned at the method in which cadavers are acquired in the country, even as she called for sensitization of the populace on body donation. She said, ‘’the method in which we acquire cadavers was questionable in the just concluded International Federation of Association of Anatomist in London United Kingdom. The issue of body donation was suggested and we must start sensitizing the populace on body donation. ‘’ Will this be accepted in our African culture and background? We need to amend the old law and ensure that licenses are obtained to open Departments of Anatomy.’’ Describing anatomy as a life science that has evolved with time along with other sciences, she said anatomy curriculum has been reviewed to include aspects of entrepreneurship. The Anatomist appealed to Universities yet to implement the use of the new curriculum to do so, as the graduates will benefit from the entrepreneurial courses. Prof. Ekanem disclosed that the University of Calabar started the BSC Programme in Anatomy with the sole objective of training teachers to fill the lacuna caused by brain drain and lack of qualified teachers of Anatomy. The Vice Chancellor of the institution and Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Zana Akpagu, in his remarks, described anatomists as ‘critical stakeholders’ in the medical profession, even declared his unalloyed support for the ASN. Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Prof. Mrs Lucy Udida said his administration was happy with the exploits of anatomists, just as he described their contributions in the health sector as phenomenal. The keynote speaker, Prof. Blessing Didia, who spoke on the topic, “Anatomy Education: Implications for National Development’’, described Anatomy Education as a vehicle for National development. He said about 1000 anatomists are trained per year in Nigeria, saying there was need for the state-of-art facilities to advance anatomy education in the country. Prof. Didia who said poor budgetary allocations was responsible for the abysmal performance of Universities added that to have greater impact on national development, anatomy educators in the country must consider curriculum review. The keynote speaker said advanced economies have abandoned the traditional approach for a system-based and problem-oriented clinical approach to anatomy education, even as he stressed the need for a curriculum that is adaptive to changing job market realities. This came as he kicked against migration of health professionals, disclosing that 40, 000 out of 75, 000 registered doctors are practicing outside the country. A Guest lecturer, Barr. Nyekema Iyamba, in a paper presentation on the topic, “Anatomy Act: Present and Future”, admired the courage of the ASN in its firm commitment to championing the cause of looking for an enabling law to regulate the practice of Anatomy in Nigeria. The legal practitioner said the scope of the practice of Anatomy in Nigeria has widened, new circumstances and challenges have arisen, adding that the legislative arm of government t should take a closer look at the current laws regulating the practice of Anatomy in the country.

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