Ukraine and Russia dropped from medical studies list

A decision by the Medical Council of Mauritius to exclude Ukraine and Russia from its list of education centres approved to teach medicine has been condemned by the president of the Medical and Health Officers' Association, Dr Wassim Ballam, and the Ukrainian honorary consul in Mauritius, Dr Abdool Mohaboob Kureemun.

Ballam and Kureemun described the exclusion as “shameful, ungrateful and disappointing”, reported l’Express of Port Louis. The decision had been made even though new countries – including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait – had been added to the list.

Only graduates of approved centres specialising in medical studies are recognised by the Medical Council, which endorses only one such institution in Mauritius, the University of Mauritius, which is affiliated to the SSR Medical College and to Anna Medical School, according to l’Express.

The other centres are all located abroad, and published in an official list, the latest of which is dated 9 September. But unlike previous lists, Ukraine and Russia are excluded.

‘Bizarre’ decision

Kureemun said he found the decision “bizarre”, because Ukraine was currently improving its relations with Mauritius, l’Express wrote.

He said a letter had been sent to the Medical Council to ask for Ukraine to be reinstalled, but there had been no follow-up. However, he made it clear that the decision would not affect diplomatic relations between the two countries, which collaborated so Mauritians could travel to Ukraine without a visa.

The Russian embassy indicated that the issue was being followed closely, and would react after consultation with Moscow, reported l’Express.

Ballam said that 70% of Mauritian doctors working in public service had carried out their medical studies in East European countries: “I myself studied in Ukraine,” he said.

He explained that Russia had offered study grants to Mauritians for years, and protested that, in return “we withdraw Russia and Ukraine from the Medical Council list… It’s truly incomprehensible”.

However, an article in l’Express in February revealed that the numbers of Mauritian students studying in Russia and Ukraine had dwindled in recent years, for reasons including language and the political situation.

More Mauritians studying abroad

Meanwhile, numbers of Mauritian students studying abroad in 2015 totalled 11,099 – 948 more than in 2014 – according to the Tertiary Education Commission report Participation in Tertiary Education 2015.

This is a high number, given that the Indian Ocean island has a population of only 1.3 million.

Preferred study destinations were the United Kingdom, with 2,506 students or 22.6%; followed by France-La Réunion and Australia with 18.9% and 17.2% respectively. Most popular courses were in engineering, taken by 14.6% of the students, and medicine, by 14.1%.

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