WINDHOEK - A group of about 200 foreign-trained medical and dental students will today petition the Office of the Prime Minister to air their grievances on the Health Professions Councils of Namibia (HPCNA)’s evaluation of foreign-trained medical and dental graduates.
The group told New Era yesterday that they have exhausted all the available channels and that their concerns are being ignored.
Among others, the medical and dental graduates feel the HPCNA board exams were set up in a manner designed to fail them, contributing to the perception that foreign-trained doctors are ‘incompetent’.
New Era reported in December that only two out of 240 foreign-trained medical and dental students passed the board examinations, but with the graduates questioning the evaluation process.
“There is no fairness and justice in the evaluation process,” said the group yesterday. New Era tried on several occasions since December to get comment from the HPCNA on the matter but the board has refused to comment.
However, the HPCNA Deputy Registrar Chrispin Mafwila sent New Era a statement to clarify the pre-evaluation of foreign-trained medical and dental graduates.
Mafwila said the HPCNA has the responsibility to regulate the practice of medical and dental professions and protecting the public.
“It is therefore serving the dignity of these professions and the interest of the public if the Council continues to set the standards that ensure knowledge, competency and skills-based professions. In doing so, Council will always act fairly and reasonable towards its clients including, medical and dental graduates. However, the onus is on every graduate to demonstrate to the Council through meeting the prescribed requirements, including passing the evaluations, that he or she is entitled to registration,” said Mafwila.
Evaluating healthcare professionals who obtained qualifications from foreign countries is not peculiar to Namibia but a common practice worldwide, he added.
In Namibia, a foreign-trained medical or dental graduate is entitled to three chances of evaluation per application, said Mafwila further. “At the same time, he or she has a choice to enroll for a twelve-month practical training programme, which is a government-initiated strategy aimed at assisting graduates to bridge the knowledge, skills and competence gaps in preparation for the Council evaluation,” he said.
The practical training programme mainly takes place in the state hospitals and health facilities under the supervision of experienced medical and dental practitioners and specialists, he added.
2019-02-14 10:04:16 6 days ago