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`Doctors must value their societal role`

27th January 2012
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In recent months there have been a series of strikes conducted by International Medical and Technological University (IMTU) including the on-going strike by some of doctors at the Muhimbili National Hospital. All the striking medical professionals have to a great extent common reasons for staging a strike.

 

The International Medical and Technical University (IMTU) Local Trustee, Srinivasa has passionately appealed to students at the university to rescind from their strike asking them to think of the lives which are currently at stake.

 

“The most important thing for the students is to understand the role in a sensitive medical professional and the way they serve their communities in the country. They should also understand that strikes do not build a nation, but instead undermines development and eventually destroys the community they are supposed to serve,” the IMTU Local Trustee notes.

He said doctors have a strong reputation in society and without them the country’s workforce would paralyze.

He  said the government was doing its best to lure various international and internal institutions into starting training facilities for medical personnel in the country.

 

The situation in the country is that a doctor is supposed to serve 50,000 patients. The number surpasses the average number that doctors requires to serve. 

 

 

 

While the demands by the IMTU students includes paying their fees in local currency instead of paying in foreign currency, the university’s administration has already rectified the anomaly and has therefore resolved that the fees would be paid in local currency.

“In fact the administration has allowed students to pay in four instilments for those unable to pay once,” he says.

“The government is now dealing with the doctors’ strike at the Muhimbili Referral hospital whereby the main demands of the strikers are allowances, lack of medicine including improvement of working conditions which have for a long time re-occurred in various high learning institutions including that of IMTU,” he says.

IMTU students have put to the fore various problems affecting them and the administration has listened to their demands including allowing them to continue with their lessons for those who left the university after the misunderstandings beginning August last year.

According to the official, there are various steps which have been taken by the Tanzania Commission for Universities whereby great care and wisdom have been  used in solving the between the commission and IMTU to see the root cause of the skirmishes by the students.

“Like in any other university there was a list of demands

 

by students, but before that there were some misunderstandings between the administration and the students. This gave rise to some of the students not to attend classes in a form of a protest in order to press for their demands.  

 

 

 

One of the demands for the striking students was for negotiations and resolutions to be conducted in the presence of all stakeholders who include the university administration, officials in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Tanzania Commission for Universities and  Higher Education Students Loan Board (HESLB).

“The talks were held through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and by September 19, 2011 the university was officially opened and students were registered for the academic year 2011/2012. However some of the students who by that time were continuing with their studies decided to continue with their strike demanding that fees be reduced including other demands, he explained.

IMTU administration agreed to reduce the fees from 7.2m/- to 6.25m/- beginning the 2011/2012 academic year. It was also resolved that the rates would be used until such time when the government would issue a directive on how fees should be paid to each student in a particular programme, he said.

More still it was agreed that the fees would not be paid in conformity with the Dollar value but in Tanzania Shilling.

Elaborating, he said all universities in the world are using a system that prepares students to reach the required standards so that they are awarded with particular degrees saying, “that is why the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has a big responsibility of seeing to it that universities meet the required standards during their registration.”

“Some of the student strikes are ignited because of hatred between some lecturers and some university leadership. A hatred may be implanted for personal reasons only. Some when required to do some supplementaries are finding unfounded reasons to satisfy themselves that it was not fair for them to supplement. Sometimes students many have the right to query on redoing their exams, but in many cases personal hatred reigns,” he says

In solving the problem he says IMTU, after the students’ strike formed a special committee which visited the university in order to investigate on the allegations raised by students at the university which gave rise to the skirmishes between them and the leadership while also giving recommendations on how to solve the problems to be identified.

“To form such a committee is a good way in finding the actual problems and how best to solve. Such a procedure would leave each side satisfied. IMTU did that and the results of the committee would be revealed and suggestions to rectify the situation would be known for the benefit of all parties involved- the students and the administration.,” he noted.

 

“All the procedures have been followed in order to give chance for IMTU leadership for rectifying the anomalies they which the committee will find out together and the students would be more enlightened on their medical professional role for the Tanzanian community,” he says

IMTU is one of the educational institutions which has expanded itself and formed alliance with such institution in countries of the South.

The kind of relation is on strengthening professional education and in learning more modern technology from technically advanced countries of the world.

“Such an interaction is a result of good relations between Tanzania and India in the advancement of technology among the Southern African countries,” he says.

Since July last year relations between IMTU students and members of the staff had soured apparently because of the fee rise which was pegged on US Dollars. The students subsequently staged a strike by not attending classes.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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