WINDHOEK, FEB 25 – Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani has expressed concerns about the integrity and competency of those who serve on the Health Professions Council.
At a media briefing Monday, Venaani added that PDM was also concerned about their judgement when appointing moderators and invigilators to examine graduates.
“You cannot moderate an examination paper that you have set up yourself; there must be a competent third party to moderate that examination,” he said.
In addition, he questioned.
He challenged for an explanation “that an examination is derived from a Washington Booklet and certain sections (i.e.surgery) taken from an Indian Booklet. What are we really examining these young people on?”
“We therefore call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into this matter.”
The politician said there was need to develop and harmonize the curriculum for the medical practise, arguing that diseases that plague Namibia may not necessarily plague other places in the world.
He blasted the Health Professions Council and accused them of half-baked curriculum.
“The lack of study materials and a standardized curriculum across the board is clear indication that the Health Professions Council has not done enough to ensure that graduates are given a fair chance to prove themselves competent for the job.”
He explained: “Therefore, it is not enough to merely give a scope, a curriculum must be developed and study materials provided to takers of the exam. A medical graduate is given three opportunities to sit for the remedial programme, if the graduate happens to fail three times; his or her degree is declared null and void.”
Bordering on suggesting a showdown, Venaani said PDM would like the Health Professions Council to pronounce themselves clearly on the issue, adding that “As far as we are concerned the Act does not empower the Council to that extend. We cannot politicize the careers of our youth. Youth unemployment is as it stands is increasing at an alarming rate. It is our duty first as Namibian citizens to protect the future of this country, the youth.”
Of utmost importance, according to Venaani, was that clarity must be provided for the approval of loans at the time and “how these so-called ‘grade 12 poor
performers’ were able to leave the country for further studies on the ticket of Government.”
He glared at the fact that out of 207 foreign-trained medical graduates that had sat for the pre-internship evaluation, only two medical graduates had passed.
Turning to figures, Venaani said an average amount of N$87,000 per year was spent for 6 years on each medical student to pursue his or her medical career.
“Approximately N$500,000 multiplied by 240 students giving us an estimate of one hundred and twenty-five million two hundred and eighty thousand
(taxpayers’ money) was spent on these graduates.”
According to Venaani, the very graduates have for the past year been attached at various health facilities (hospitals, clinics, health centres etc.) and have been signed off by their MO’s (who also happen to be foreign-trained) as competent and ready for the medical practise.
“These are our youth that we send out to foreign countries in hopes for greener pastures, Government has spent too much to simply write them off as incompetent and ‘not-ready’ for merely failing a pre-internship evaluation. Do their efforts on practise not count for anything? Are their supervisors not competent too to declare them competent for the job?” – firstname.lastname@example.org