Sub-standard private medical schools to be closed

The bodies representing the medical professions in Cameroon have persuaded the government to close down sub-standard private medical institutes and have called for the introduction of a common entrance examination, to ensure quality training. Meanwhile, a lecturers’ union has called a strike to protest over police action against 10 of its members.

Quotidien.Mutations reported that the Ordre des Médecins, which represents medical doctors, surgeons, dentists and pharmacists, raised the alarm in 2010 about the proliferation of private institutes of medical higher education, known as IPES.

According to the president of the dentists’ order, Dr Catherine Effila: “It is the government of the state which guarantees the quality of the persons who are called upon to take charge of populations’ health.” By distributing permissions to open schools “like sweets”, government had allowed entry, into the profession, of charlatans whose first concern was profit.

To bring order to the muddle and restore the image of the profession, the presidents of the medical orders had been calling for three years for the “pure and simple closure” of IPES, which did not respect the standards decreed for medical studies, said Quotidien.Mutations. At last the government had taken heed.

As well as closure of the sub-standard institutions Dr Guy Sandjon, president of the Ordre National des Médecins du Cameroun, said the government had agreed to introduce a common competitive examination so a school could not lower its recruitment requirements “in the light of its financial, social or even tribal problems”.

The measure was one of 10 recommendations in a report by the national commission for evaluation of faculties and IPES, and did not specifically aim to ostracise the private institutes; it also criticised the faculties at the state-run universities of Yaoundé-1, Buéa, Douala and Bamenda, and recommended their suspension or closure, said Quotidien.Mutations.

Meanwhile, at the University of Buéa, the lecturers’ union Synes du Sud-Ouest called a 10-day strike in support of 10 members charged by police with inciting students to riot, reported Quotidien.Mutations. Twenty-six students were imprisoned following the violence.

Synes member Chief Ngeh said calling the police to intervene and harass the teachers was a serious mistake, and he did not believe the teachers’ action was a criminal offence.

“From a legal point of view the lecturers should not have been prosecuted for having advised and helped striking students to write their grievances in an attempt to resolve the crisis at Buéa University,” he said.

“Even advising students to assert their constitutional right by striking to emphasise their claims is not criminal either. Strike action is not in itself criminal.”

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original report.