• July 24th, 2019
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Foreign-trained medical professionals get reprieve

Roland Routh and 
Alvine Kapitako

WINDHOEK – Foreign-trained medical professionals who lodged an urgent application on Friday in the Windhoek High Court were granted their wish when the Medical and Dental Council of Namibia heeded their call that pre-internship written evaluation be postponed.

Their lawyer, Samson Enkali from Khadila Amoomo Legal Practitioners, told Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula that the council postponed the matter to February 21 during the hearing of the urgent application and the judge then postponed the hearing to Wednesday for a status hearing. 

The applicants, Natalia Iileka, Elizabeth Kambonde, Ndeshipanda Shatona and Kolin Kazeandja lodged the application against the council, the Chairperson of the Appeal Committee of the council, the Chairperson of the Education Committee of the council, the Registrar of the Health Professions Council, Unam, examiners and moderators designated for the pre-internship written evaluations of the council and the Ministry of Health and Social Services. A total of 191 other medical graduates were cited as interested parties. 

They asked the High Court to interdict and restrain the council from conducting the evaluation today and to stay the evaluation pending the outcome of an appeal lodged to nullify the results of an evaluation they took in November last year which all, but two, of the foreign-trained medical professionals failed. 

According to an affidavit filed by Iileka, the examination was unlawful and unfair. She said the examination was drastically amended without sufficient prior notice. According to Iikela, they were informed a mere 16 days prior to the examination about the amendments to the evaluation despite the regulations of the council stating that 30 days’ notice must be given. 

The affidavit further reads that four new subjects will form part of the written evaluation and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination including 20 clinical interpretation stations would also form part of the pre-internship evaluation, which was not the case in the recent past. 

“We were further informed that the number for the written portion of the evaluation had been tripled from 100 multiple choice questions, [which it was] in the past, to 300 multiple choice questions. Despite the increase in the content of the work to be examined and the tripling of the number of multiple choice questions and allocated marks per paper, the time for completion remained three hours per paper as in the past,”Iikela stated.

 She further said that in the recent past the pre-internship written evaluation consisted only of the four major domains, namely General Medicine, General Surgery (including Surgical Trauma), Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Paediatrics with 100 multiple choice questions with 25 questions allocated to each of the aforementioned major domains, to be completed within three hours.

 “My fellow graduates and I were aggrieved by the aforementioned drastic and unexpected changes to the evaluation process,” she stated and continued that they then “collectively” decided to air their grievances within 24 hours of receipt of the amendments by submitting a letter to the council, which was refused, but were instead offered a “scope” for the examination to help them prepare. They then decided to sit for the examination on November 29 for Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology as well as Paediatrics, but to their dismay found that they were being examined on General Surgery (including trauma surgery), which was supposed to be examined the next day. When they noted this anomaly, they notified the invigilators who blatantly refused to obtain clarity and instead told them they have the option not to write the exam. 

After several failed attempts to engage the council on the matter, they then decided to lodge an appeal to have the “unlawful and unfair,” examination nullified.     

Alvine Kapitako
2019-01-21 09:32:41 6 months ago

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