1 February 2013

Mozambique: Medical Students Face Reprisals Over Strike

Maputo — The Medical Faculty of Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) has told those medical students who joined the nine day doctors’ strike, organised by the Mozambican Medical Association (AMM) in January, that they have failed part of their course and will have to take it again.

According to a report in Friday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, the faculty took the decision on Tuesday, and it was communicated to the students in question as from Wednesday.

The decision concerns those sixth year medical students who work as apprentices at Maputo Central Hospital, during the practical part of their course. All those who failed to show up during the strike are now deemed to have failed that part of the course, and must repeat it. It is not clear how many students this affects.

The faculty also praises those students who did not join the strike, and says it will issue them with certificates in recognition of their “selflessness” and “sacrifice”.

The faculty’s move to punish the strikers seems to be a flagrant violation of the agreement between the AMM and the government, signed on 15 January, which ended the strike.

Part of this deal was that the Ministry would send a circular to all public sector health units giving instructions that no administrative measures were to be taken against those doctors and student doctors who did not present themselves for work during the strike.

The Medical Faculty, however, might argue that it is not covered by the agreement, since it is not subordinate to the Health Ministry, but to the University.

The disciplinary measure is an embarrassment to Health Minister Alexandre Manguele who had pledged that the strikers would face no reprisals.

There has, as yet, been no response from the AMM.

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