5 February 2013

Mozambique: AMM Denounces Reprisals Against Medical Students

Maputo — The Mozambican Medical Association (AMM), which seeks to represent the country’s doctors, has dismissed as “inopportune, illegitimate and illegal” the decision by the Medical Faculty of Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University to fail those medical students who took part in the nine day doctors’ strike organised by the AMM in January.

The faculty 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. The decision affects about 100 students.

A statement addressed by the AMM to the Faculty, and available on the AMM Facebook page, says that the Council of the Medical Faculty does not have the legal power to fail the students for their failure to turn up for nine days. The decision, the AMM says, does not state which legal provisions the students violated, and was based merely on opinions of Faculty members without any legal support.

Under the University’s Educational Regulations, the students could be sanctioned if they missed 25 per cent of their internship at the Maputo Central Hospital. But the AMM points out that the internship is 70 days long, and the nine days of the strike is 12.9 per cent of that period.

Furthermore, after the end of the strike, the medical students put in extra hours at the hospital for two weeks, in order to compensate for the days of the strike.

The AMM also regards the reprisals taken against the students as a 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 AMM calls on the Medical Faculty to show “good sense” and withdraw its dispatch failing the students, thus allowing relations in the health service “to return to the tranquility obtained on 15 January”.

The AMM has also requested an urgent meeting with both the Medical Faculty and with the Ministry of Health. So far the Ministry has not commented on the Faculty’s decision.

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