Following weeks of complaints and anxiety, the University of Namibia (Unam) and the medical students who temporarily withdrew from clinical settings have finally reached consensus over the need for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Nearly two weeks ago, over 150 medical students at Unam’s School of Medicine temporarily withdrew from clinical settings, citing, among others, a lack of adequate PPE. The group also attributed their withdrawal to operational measures that they claimed were not in place to protect themselves and others from contracting Covid-19. The withdrawal came as a result of unaddressed issues such as lack of isolation facilities and proper remedial adjustments for students missing clinical activities due to being quarantined or isolated due to Covid-19.
Student Representative Council (SRC) spokesperson for the Hage Geingob Campus Mario Richard this week said they have since engaged Unam management over the issue and their engagements have been fruitful. “We have received official communication from them meeting all our demands and addressing our concerns. That is all I can say formally,” Richard said.
However, he said, the students were not ready to return to hospitals for their clinical settings until all pending issues have been resolved. The students’ halt in clinical activities was to allow preparation and identification of facilities so that when rotations resume and the cases of exposed and or infected persons increase, they can be handled safely and timeously.
The students initially submitted a list of complaints to management before resolving to withdraw from clinical settings a week ago. The students complained it took weeks before the university could provide them with PPE.
Initially, the students were told the delay was due to the fact the provision of such was supposed to come from the ministry (of health) and since it was struggling, the university stepped in to assist and the processes took time.