Doctors’ Standards to Remain High

The critical shortage of doctors will not compel the Medical and Dental Council of Namibia to lower its standards on the quality of medical education of future Namibian doctors.

The Medical and Dental Council of Namibia says it will not lower set standards because people’s lives could be put at risk by poorly trained doctors.

Cornelius Weyulu who is the Registrar of the Health Professions Council of Namibia made these remarks in reaction to Namibian students being trained to become doctors in China despite having failed their Grade 12 final examinations.

New Era last week broke a story about Namibian students studying medicine in China despite attaining less than 10 points, which is way below the minimum prescribed 35 entry point level.

“Should the training they underwent be found not meeting our prescribed minimum requirements of study and thereby their basic knowledge of medicine be substandard, their applications to be registered as medical practitioners and to practise medicine in Namibia will definitely be refused,” Weyulu said.

He said no person who is unregistered by the Medical and Dental Council of Namibia or alternatively not authorised by the Minister of Health and Social Services is allowed to treat patients.

Weyulu says although it is highly probable that such students upon completion of studies intend to return to Namibia and practise medicine, medical training can be challenging to an average student and therefore good points in the right subjects at Grade 12 level are necessary. Government Notice Number 177 stipulates that the minimum qualification required for the registration by the council of a person as a doctor under Section 20 of the Allied Health Professions Act of 2004 is a Bachelor Degree in Medicine and Surgery granted to the holder thereof by a recognised educational institution.

The same notice says the qualification must be granted after full-time study at an educational institution for a period of not less than five academic years. Such a person must also have a pass mark of not less than 50 percent of the maximum marks obtainable in the examination, or the equivalent of 50 percent in the marking system employed by the educational institution in respect of every one of the subjects prescribed by that sub-regulation ranging from human anatomy to psychiatry, among other domains.

However, the Namibian students currently studying medicine at Chinese universities attained low symbols such as G, which translates into one point and F, which is mere a two points and E which translates into three points, according to evidence seen by New Era.

According to Weyulu, it is important for aspiring medical students to note that medical training is normally tailor-made to meet the health needs of a specific country and or sub-region or continent.

He elaborated that it is possible that some medical institutions outside Namibia and or Africa may not properly equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to deal with specific health conditions that are unique to Namibia or Africa.

“The reasons of going outside the continent to study medicine should not be because one does not qualify to study medicine locally and therefore be looking for institutions where admission requirements are lower,” he cautioned. He also revealed that Namibia has to date registered about 1 254 medical practitioners and another 318 specialist medical practitioners.

This brings the total number of registered medical practitioners to 1 572.

Weyulu said not all of these practitioners currently practise medicine in Namibia. Most Chinese universities teach Chinese medicine and by way of comparing their curriculum with the Health Professions Council apparently causes a disconnection.

Source : New Era