By Marshall Bwanya
Final year medical students in Zimbabwe have expressed concern over how the incapacitation of doctors has affected their studies and the quality of their medical degree.
Student doctors have gone for three months without attending clinical studies in the absence of their tutors who are on strike and yet they are still expected to write exams.
Medical student Garikayi Gombiro told Nehanda TV that without undergoing clinical studies they would graduate as half baked junior doctors unfit to attend to patients.
“We are a clinical force, medicine is learnt on the ward beside the patient, it’s called bedside learning.
“When incapacitation happened there were no patients on the ward and doctors who teach the apprenticeship program hence we haven’t been learning because there were no doctors .
“Without the clinical course we won’t have the medical acumen to attend to patients, and I don’t think anyone would want a half baked doctor to attend to them,” he said.
Final year medical students are expected to write examinations on 16 December while the impasse between the government and doctors continues without a visible solution at hand.
Senior doctor that assist junior doctors to supervise the clinical course recently joined the strike in solidarity after government fired 500 junior doctors.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday gave fired doctors a 48 hours reprieve to reapply which the latter rejected stating the fundamentals of their incapacitation were still not addressed.
Medical student Pardon Zivengwa told Nehanda TV that negotiations with the Deanery (Department of Student Affairs) and other relevant stakeholders had failed to yield favorable results prompting them to pursue the legal route.
“We have been trying to negotiate with the Deanary and relevant authorities but the response was taking too long and we decided to take the court route but at the moment cannot disclose what happened in the court.
“Our efforts were bent on blocking us from writing examinations without first undergoing outstanding practical studies our class has not attended,” he said.
Zivengwa reiterated that proceeding to write examinations without the twelve weeks they missed would discredit their degree and the whole stream forever red flagged.
Clinical studies are a requisite course for medical students to equip them with the practical knowledge of handling patients.
Avogadro Sibiya another final year medical student told Nehanda TV that graduating to a junior doctor without undertaking the practical surgery studies would affect his capacity to attend to patients.
“If I graduate as junior doctor without attending practical surgery studies how am supposed to approach a patient without full knowledge to treat a patient’s condition.
“I am not comfortable handling a patient without finishing another course,” he said.
Medical student Limakatso Chabeli appealed to the relevant authorities to oversee that they should not write examinations without undergoing the practical courses which would nullify their degree.
” I would urge the responsible authorities not to push us to write examinations before we finish our rotations.
“We can wait for the strike to finish then come for the 12 weeks studies we missed then we can write the exams.
“Because we are still going to come back finish our rotations and rewrite the exams,” she said. Nehanda Radio