BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
THE fate of final year medical students at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) who failed to write their examinations last year at the height of the doctors’ strike is still in limbo.
The students, who were only left with about three months to complete their programme, were ordered to go back home at the recommendation of a special university taskforce.
The taskforce came to the conclusion that the environment was not suitable for students to write the examinations given the nationwide job action within government hospitals.
The recommendation was that the students would be recalled at the earliest opportunity to finalise their studies and write their final examinations.
However, to date the students do not know their fate and have not been recalled. This is despite the fact that various departments within the college have resumed lessons.
The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) is now calling on the dean of the College of Health Sciences, Rangarirai Masanganise, to clarify the students’ position.
“We are concerned about the recent developments in the UZ College of Health Sciences (UZ-CHS). We refer to the lack of communication given (sic) to the fifth year MBChB, class of 2019, who have been left high and dry, without any provision made for the completion of their programme,” the doctors said in a statement.
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They also claimed that there will be severe shortage of interns in the future.
“This perpetual uncertainty has caused unnecessary anxiety and stagnation and requires urgent review,” ZHDA noted.
Of concern, according to the doctors, is also the replacement of the chairperson of the department of surgery David Muchuweti.
“Muchuweti is a seasoned academic who has always been expeditious in his defence of the ideals of this profession. His dismissal in complete disregard of the university ordinances is a threat to the self-governance of the department and the profession,” ZHDA, which is calling for his reinstatement pending an investigation, said.
The doctors added that this had left them with no option, but to speculate that the UZ-CHS was pursuing a punitive agenda on the students who refused to be frog-marched to a questionable examination.
Furthermore, in an incredulous move, the class of 2020 has been propelled forward to take their place as the current fifth years, with the three months of teaching that they lost forfeited.