Namibia’s Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating a case of foreign-trained medical graduates who allegedly cheated in a competency test last month, reports The Namibian. Pending the investigation, the examination results of 297 foreign-trained medical graduates who sat for the Health Professions Council of Namibia (HPCNA) evaluation on 27 September are being withheld.
The evaluation is a compulsory competency test taken by all medical graduates with foreign qualifications. It is a prerequisite for doctors before they are registered as practitioners with the council. In a letter addressed to the graduates dated 22 October, HPCNA CEO Cornelius Weyulu said although the answer scripts have been marked, there were allegations that graduates cheated during the test.
Weyulu added that the executive committee of the council decided to withhold the results of the graduates, as well as report the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for further investigation. He thus asked that students remain patient and calm until the investigations are complete.
The report says contacted for an update on developments, Weyulu said because the matter is under investigation by the commission, he was not at liberty to speak about it. And ,the spokesperson of the ACC, Josefina Nghituwamata, confirmed that the matter is being investigated. Nghituwamata added that examination fraud and corruption are serious transgressions that are not tolerated by the commission.
According to the report, media reports last year revealed that 238 foreign-trained doctors who sat for the evaluation test had failed. At the time, only two medical graduates and none of the dental graduates passed. It was reported in 2017 that out of 99 graduates who underwent the evaluation, only 45 were cleared for the health ministry's 2018 medical internship programme. The test has been described by some of the foreign-trained doctors as ‘unfair.’
The allegations of cheating come after several experts in the medical field stated earlier this year that the pre-internship examination that foreign-trained medical graduates were subjected to last year was ‘too difficult, unnecessary and out of context. The report says the experts, Dr Shonaq MacKenzie, Dr Rodney Lichtman and Dr Laimi Ashipala, were appointed to an independent examination evaluation panel on 4 June 2019 to assist in deciding whether the examinations were fair, following complaints to the contrary.
[link url="https://www.namibian.com.na/84843/read/ACC-probes-medical-cheating-scandal"]Namibian report[/link]