ZHDA Statement on the Happenings in the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences

The ZHDA is concerned about the recent developments in the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences (UZ-CHS) and wishes to reiterate the sentiments expressed by our seniors, the SHDA. We refer to the lack of communication given to the fifth 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 Mr. D. Muchuweti as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery.

The MBChB Class of 2019, in November of last year, was instructed to return home by the University Senate, at the recommendation of a special university taskforce. The taskforce came to the conclusion that the environment was not suitable for students to write their final exams given the nationwide incapacitation within government hospitals. The recommendation was that the students, who were left with less than 3 months to complete their studies, be recalled at the earliest opportunity to finalise their studies and write exams.

The various departments within the College have began teaching once more, making it clear that the environment in 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.

This has left us with no option but to speculate that the UZ-CHS is pursuing a punitive agenda on the students who refused to be frog-marched to a questionable exam. Furthermore, in an incredulous move, the class of 2020 has been propelled forward to take their place as the current fifth years, with the 3 months of teaching they lost fortified.

These developments pose significant threat to the health system as in the next few months there will be a severe shortage of interns when the year ahead moves on in their placements. This perpetual uncertainty has caused unnecessary anxiety and stagnation and requires urgent reviews.

In another event, we are concerned with the unprocedural replacement of Mr. D. Muchuweti as the Chairperson of the Department of surgery. Mr. 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 departments and the profession.

In light of this, we demand the following: The Dean of CHS be clear on the University’s position on the MBChB V Class of 2019; That they be recalled and priority given to their teaching so they complete their studies and avoid a shortage of interns; MDPCZ and UZ Quality Control Department ensure that due procedure is followed in all programs in the UZ-CHS; the immediate reinstatement of Mr. Muchuweti as the Department Chairperson, pending a full and public investigation.

Source: Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA)