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Trainee doctors left out in the cold 3 months after refusing to write exams

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By Anna Chibamu

ZIMBABWEAN doctors have expressed concern over continued delays by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to call for fresh examinations by medical students who refused to sit for the tests last year citing missed opportunities to do their practical lessons within hospitals due to a prolonged strike action by doctors.

In a statement Sunday, the Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA) described the stance by authorities as playing politics.

The vocal doctors representative group said there has been lack of proper communication given to 5th year MBChB students at the College of Health Sciences at University of Zimbabwe.

The students who are supposed to be in school have been barred from hostels and college with authorities not coming clean on their fate, according to ZHDA.

“We refer to lack of communication given to 5h year MBChB class of 2019 who have been left high and dry, without any provision made for the completion of their program.

“We are equally shocked by the clandestine replacement of David Muchuweti as chairman of the Surgery Department,” read part of ZHDA statement.

A letter written to the students by the Dean of Faculty, dated 7 February 2020, Professor Rangarirai Masanganise read: “Please note that things are normalizing but we need to ensure that when you come to complete your courses and sit for the examinations, the conditions in the hospitals will be conducive for academic business.

“With regards to the official position of the university concerning tuition and accommodation, be addressed now since your return has not been finalised.”

However, ZHDA suspects the UZ-CHS is pursuing a punitive agenda on the students who refused to be frog-marched to write exams.

The doctors group said all other students from other faculties were receiving their lectures except for the MBChB 5th year students.

“Various departments within the college have begun teaching once more, making it clear the environment is now more suitable and yet, the final year stream continues to hang in limbo.

“Despite various attempts to seek clarification through the Dean’s office, there has been no communication.

“The 2020 class has been propelled forward to take their place as the current 5th years. With the three months they lost forfeited,” added ZHDA.

The doctors are now demanding the Dean of CHS to be clear on the University’s position on the MBChB V class of 2019 and to have the students be recalled and priority be given to their teaching so they complete their studies to avoid a shortage of interns.