Francis Megwa, an inexperienced Nigerian doctor, described as ‘knowing next to nothing’ by doctors at University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) is facing the Irish medical panel for poor professional performance.
Dr. Megwa, who was fired by University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) for lacking basic medical knowledge claims he had always made the hospital authorities aware of his lack of experience.
Dr Francis Megwa told a medical inquiry that the panel who interviewed him for the job of senior house officer (SHO) at UMHL in April 2018 knew about his limitations but he still believed he was expected to improve “in days rather than months”.
A hearing of the Irish Medical Council’s fitness to practise (FTP) committee was informed that Dr Megwa had never worked in a paid role in a hospital since qualifying as a doctor in Romania in 2015.
“This was the level of experience I had before taking up the job which they knew,” Dr Megwa said.
A consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician who interviewed Dr Megwa for his post at UMHL in April 2018, Mendinaro Imcha, admitted the recruitment process could have been better but stated it had improved since the hospital had hired him.
The Nigerian-born doctor, who was placed on call on his first day in the job, is facing two charges of poor professional performance over his time working at UMHL between July 9, 2018, and August 14, 2018.
He is also charged with being unable to give a clear history about a pregnant woman who had presented at UMHL with vaginal bleeding or estimate her level of blood loss as well as failing to recommend appropriate treatment for her.
The inquiry heard earlier evidence from witnesses that Dr Megwa knew “near nothing”, was unable to take blood samples, and had to ask what an obstetrician was.
He was accused of incorrectly diagnosing the woman who was 35 weeks pregnant with a condition associated with the first weeks of pregnancy when she was actually suffering from a potential emergency complication.
The inquiry heard Dr Megwa had described working as a SHO with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Scotland because he felt it was the “most appropriate term”.
Dr Imcha said his CV stated he had previous work experience as an SHO and had completed an internship at his medical school in Romania.
He was also registered with the Irish Medical Council (IMC) and had an EU medical qualification.
The FTP committee heard Dr Megwa had been ranked fourth out of five candidates on a panel to fill vacant SHO posts at UMHL.
He had been scored 55 out of 100 for his medical and diagnostic skills, 60 out of 100 for decision-making and initiative, and 70 out of 100 for communication and personal skills.
The interview panel had noted Dr Megwa was “short of experience but eager to work and learn”.
A member of the FTP committee, Veronica Larkin, said there appeared to be “a big mismatch” between the marks scored by Dr Megwa and his subsequent work performance.
Dr Imcha admitted she was “surprised and worried” when she was alerted within a few days of Dr Megwa taking up his post about problems with his performance, although she still wanted to give him a chance.
However, Dr Imcha said a decision was taken to assess the SHO’s competence after she was notified that his performance had not improved and other staff remained concerned about his treatment of patients.
Dr Imcha recalled how Dr Megwa, who had already been given an oral warning, struggled to answer questions based on what a final-year medical student should know, while she was also concerned that he was unable to specify the speciality he had done during his internship.
The consultant said she had made a complaint to the IMC about Dr Megwa as he lacked the basic knowledge expected of someone who had been to medical school for five or six years and completed an internship.
“We felt it may not be safe for him to continue,” she recalled.
Dr Imcha said she was unaware that Dr Megwa complained that he was shaking and panting with nerves during his assessment meeting.
Dr Megwa said he had learnt to take blood and fit cannulas after just a few days working at the hospital but claimed the only people who really helped him at UMHL were his fellow SHOs.
The hearing was adjourned until a future date.
Omicron, WHO Gives New COVID Variant Name
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated the new COVID variant B.1.1.529, Omicron on Friday.
The organisation disclosed in a statement published on its website after its officials assessed data received from South Africa earlier today.
It said “The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.”
“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.”
Therefore, countries are asked to do the following:
- enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
- submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, such as GISAID.
- report initial cases/clusters associated with VOC infection to WHO through the IHR mechanism.
- where capacity exists and in coordination with the international community, perform field investigations and laboratory assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, severity, effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostic methods, immune responses, antibody neutralization, or other relevant characteristics.
WHO said its independent Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) will continue to evaluate this variant and communicate new findings to member states.
On Friday, Belgium reported a case of Omicron variant covid in a traveler from Egypt while Hong Kong reported two cases.
The United Kingdom, US, Israel and others have imposed restrictions on flights from South Africa and other six nations to curb Omicron outbreak in the nations.
US, UK, EU Nations, Israel, Others Restrict Travel From South Africa
The United States has joined the United Kingdom, Israel, European Nations and a host of others to restrict flights from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi starting from Monday.
US Senior officials announced on Friday, saying the restriction was recommended by Joe Biden’s chief medical officer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the restriction does not apply to US citizens or permanent residents.
The decision was after reports of a fast-spreading new covid variant called B.1.1.529 hits headline on Thursday, raising concerns it could spread across the world if nothing is done fast. On Friday, Hong Kong reported two cases of the virus while Belgium confirmed one case in a traveler from Egypt.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated the heavily mutated coronavirus strain ‘a variant of concern’.
WHO said the new COVID variant would be given the name Omicron after data examined by its officials showed exponential growth in cases of the B.1.1.529 Sars-Cov-2 variant.
The news plunged global financial markets, with stocks falling to their lowest in more than a year. The Standard and Poor 500 dropped 2.3 percent while Europe’s Stoxx 600 sheds 3.7 percent and the MSCI Asia-Pacific index dipped by 1.7 percent.
Crude oil dropped over $10 or more than 5 percent to $72 a barrel. Even gold, a known haven commodity, pulled back, losing its earlier gains.
“What should have been a quiet Friday trading in both bonds and equities globally has turned into a rout,” said Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income at NatAlliance Securities.
Npower Batch C: Payment Status Now Pending
In an update concerning the Npower batch C volunteers, the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) has stated that the payment issues are one step closer to being resolved.
NASIMS stated that previous complaints about error messages like ‘Failed Payment’ and ‘No Payment Data Available’ have now been changed to pending.
In a previous update, some reasons for the failure in payment were revealed. Some of the reasons revealed were the lack of completion of a physical verification exercise, provision of wrong account details, no provision of account details at all, failure to provide Bank Verification Number or the lack of matching information on different documents.
Newsonlineng reports that NASIMS has stated that once the resolution has been effected, it cannot be instantaneous but will rather take a few days before the changes made can reflect. The site has however also confirmed that all the payment issues have been resolved days ago and that the resolution has reflected on every Batch C volunteer’s NASIMS profile page.
The profile page is now showing ‘Pending’ which is the very first page of the payment process.
By virtue of the resolution made, all the beneficiaries of Batch C of the Npower programme have been advised to login to their NASIMS page for the confirmation of the update. All the Batch C volunteers whose issues are yet to be resolved and the update yet to be reflected on their page have been encouraged to exercise patience as all the payment issues will be resolved and the payments will surely be made.
Some other information released from NASIMS include:
- Collation of account details as well as the resolution of problems is still going on
- Resolution of the payment issues have now been rectified, and the pending status seen is the first step of payment before processing
- For wrong account details, those affected should call the NASIMS support lines 092203102 and 018888340 to lodge complaints and provide the correct details.
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