HPCZ withdraws some medical courses from Apex, Cavendish

THE Health Professions Council of Zambia has withdrawn the approval certificates for some training programmes currently being offered at Lusaka Apex Medical and Cavendish universities.

And HPCZ registrar Dr Aaron Mujajati says his institution will not allow the training of “assassins”.

Speaking at a monthly briefing in Lusaka, Dr Mujajati said two programmes had being withdrawn from Lusaka Apex Medical University while three had been taken out of Cavendish University’s medical programme.

“We are here today to give an update on the compliance of the ongoing monitoring that is taking place, as it relates to training institutions. Some of you are aware of the mandate of HPCZ and for those not aware, we draw our mandate from the Act which allows us to register health practitioners and regulate their conduct. Accredit health services which are provided by facilities. We recognize and approve training programmes. This is why we are here to update you and the public,” Dr Mujajati said.

“HPCZ wishes to inform the general public, stakeholders and students about the withdrawal of approval certificates for training programmes which are offered by Lusaka Apex Medical University. We have withdrawn two programmes namely; Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Bachelor of Science in Radiography. We have withdrawn three programmes from Cavendish University which are Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgeon, a qualification people obtain to become doctors. We have also withdrawn Bachelor of Clinical Medicine and Bachelor of Science in Public Health.”

He said before the withdrawal, HPCZ last year conducted a compliance check at the two institutions.

Dr Mujajati said prior to the visit, the two institutions were found to be in violation.

“Before the withdrawal, last year the HPCZ conducted compliance in these institutions. At that time, three major violations were found and the facilities were given an opportunity to address the violations, sometime in October last year. The schools were informed that the council would come back to check. The compliance inspectors unearthed that the schools did not do much on the compliance inspections,” he revealed.

Dr Mujajati said some of the reasons of certificate withdrawal were due to unqualified lecturers.

“Some of the reasons at Lusaka Apex Medical University programmes under medicine, the Dean did not have post graduate qualifications which is against the standards of the council. The coordinator of the course did not have the five years teaching experience. The institution has over-enrolled up to 740 students against five full time lecturers, four of which are not qualified to teach pharmacy and they have inadequate seating capacity and inadequate books in the library. No clinical instructors are available for students and the laboratory does not meet the required standards. It’s the same, if not similar picture, in Radiography where the Dean’s qualifications are unknown and only one lecturer is teaching over 100 students,” he said.

Dr Mujajati said Cavendish University had no teaching staff in all the programmes.

He said to produce medical doctors, institutions should have 50 per cent full time lecturers.

“At Cavendish University, the withdrawal of programmes is for the following reasons; they do not have teaching staff for all programmes, especially programmes that produce doctors. They have no lecturers to teach paediatrics, because the requirement is that they have to have full time lecturers. They have failed to meet the standard of 50 per cent full time lecturers and 50 per cent part time. Some teaching staff do not have the HPCZ certificates and registration which is the case for both schools. Cavendish does not have laboratories to train doctors and they have issues of inadequate space…,” Dr Mujajati said.

He said the training of health workers should be done with public safety in mind.

“Let me state that schools that train health care workers should not be engaged in dangerous cost saving measures because as council, our main interest is, we are accountable to the public and our job is to keep our public safe. Institutions should produce health workers and not assassins. We are not in the business of allowing this type of violation of standards,” said Dr Mujajati.

And HPCZ legal counsel Frank Lungu said the council would sue the two institutions.

“The two are perpetual offenders now and it’s getting worse. To demonstrate and protect the public, we are going to sue the institutions so that we demonstrate that the offences are serious,” said Lungu.

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