All medical doctors who recently graduated from the University of Namibia (Unam) and have applied for registration as medical interns with the Medical and Dental Council of Namibia were registered accordingly, New Era has established.
The process was smoothed by the fact that their qualification met the prescribed minimum requirements for registration.
Cornelius Weyulu, the Registrar of the Health Professions Council of Namibia, confirmed this yesterday in response to New Era’s queries on the fate of the first-ever Namibian-educated medical doctors that graduated recently.
The 35 graduates, who hail from all 14 regions of the country, are among the first 57 candidates who enrolled for the programme in 2010, when the university’s School of Medicine first opened its doors. Of the 35, 23 are women and 12 men.
Former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, during the Unam graduation ceremony last month, said it is a testimony to the world that Namibia is slowly but surely moving away from being dependent on other countries’ expertise.
Weyulu said Namibian law requires that any person who holds a prescribed qualification meeting the minimum requirements for registration as medical practitioner must first be registered and trained as a medical intern for a minimum period of two years at hospitals and health facilities approved for such purpose by the Medical and Dental Council of Namibia.
He also said Namibia has to date registered about 975 medical practitioners, in addition to the 1 254 registered by 2014, as well as a further 363 specialist medical practitioners in addition to the 318 registered in 2014.
Weyulu said not all of the registered practitioners currently practice medicine in Namibia. He, however, noted that all Unam graduates who are registered as interns are practicing in Namibia.
Asked whether the council has turned down any applications for those seeking registration as medical doctors due to their basic knowledge of medicine being sub-standard, he said, none from Unam School of Medicine have been denied registration.
However, he added, the Medical and Dental Council of Namibia receives applications on a daily basis from persons from all over the world seeking registration as medical practitioners and or specialists in Namibia.
There are currently a number of Namibian students being trained to become doctors in China, despite having failed their Grade 12 final examinations. New Era recently broke the story about Namibian students studying medicine in China, despite attaining less than 10 points – way below the minimum prescribed 35-point entry level.
Some of the Namibians currently studying medicine at Chinese universities attained low symbols, such as G, which translates into one point and an F, merely two points and E, which translates into three points, according to evidence seen by New Era.
In this regard, Weyulu advised all Namibian students who wish to pursue careers as medical practitioners to first consult the Namibia Qualification Authority (NQA) to ascertain whether those medical programmes are registered and recognised in the country of origin.
Secondly, he said, they should consult the Medical and Dental Council of Namibia to ascertain the prescribed curriculum requirements and qualifications needed for registration as medical practitioners in Namibia.
He also noted that they should consult the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) for eligibility requirements should they need financial assistance from government.
Government Notice Number 177 stipulates that the minimum qualification required for registration by the council of a person as a doctor under Section 20 of the Allied Health Professions Act of 2004 is a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery granted to the holder thereof by a recognised educational institution.