MCDN awakes…Kerosene explosions continue


NTA news….reports the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria is holding its annual congress in Abuja and has made a strong statement against the advertising by alternative medicine practitioners promising a treatment for every possible ailment. They also made some positive noise about medical education and the importance of medical schools not to admit more than they have the capacity to train, as well as the reconstitution of disciplinary panels across the country. All these are welcome developments. MDCN has a huge role to play. Without a functional website and with most of its records still paper based it is difficult to see how it can live up to the demands of self regulation in the medical profession for Nigerian doctors in the 21st century.

Memories of the last time I tried to renew my license to practice still haunts me…but in this era of Servant Leadership, we remain optimistic.

As if there are not enough problems in the Niger Delta, we are blowing ourselves up with contaminated kerosene . Gory pictures have filled the pictures of newspapers of burnt children
and mothers (men normally stay away from the lamps and stoves ) (no laughing matter!). The worrying thing is the apparent silence of the authorities while this product seems to remain in circulation. There has been no attempt at a recall, or at any public enlightenment. Sadly, there is hardly any alternative to cooking with kerosene as even the middle class has since given up on trying to find cylinders of cooking gas, and of course no one is still waiting on electricity…many have returned to fire wood. Even for the kerosene…one has to queue and fight for hours…only to be burnt. At least in other countries one can call an ambulance!…But newspapers report that at least the victims have been visited by the Governor of Delta State..himself!

We have gotten used to stories of kerosene explosions in our country and have almost normalised it. Speaking to colleagues in London recently…I had to explain to them firstly what kerosene was…and secondly…what it is used for!

I was surprised they didn’t know…my bad 🙂

Saturday 18/08/07… The Guardian reports…Killer Kerosene Spreads To Makurdi

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Strange to hear that MCDN has no functional web site.
    Now, this kerosine explosions are so worrying. The lack of REGULATIONS is the main problem. People mix ‘anyting’ and put it up for sale. In the 1980s I once accidentally fried an egg for my (late) father with kerosine. Yes! Kerosine in the fry pan upon a gas cooker! (Perhaps shows how absent minded I can be). I noticed a strange smell but it didn’t register.
    I served breakfast and it looked good. Minutes later my dad screamed my name. On arrival he just said taste this. Oh, the shock on my taste buds. I felt so foolish.
    I recount this story as one of the miracles of my life. To think I was even ‘baffing’ the egg with hot kerosine during the frying process!
    In today’s Lagos, I would have had an explosion on my hands!

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