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NAQEZ oppose increase in clinical placement fees

National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) has expressed shock that the Minister of Health has allowed astronomical increase of clinical placement fees for student nurses and trainee doctors.
NAQEZ Executive Director Aaron Chansa says the 700% increase is unprecedented and unsubstantiated.
“As far as NAQEZ is aware, clinical placements of students are critical components of training for nurses and all students pursuing medical qualifications. Through these placements [industrial attachments], students enrich themselves with relevant practical skills and experiences which make them competent to become medical practitioners in future,” he said.
He said with this abrupt upward adjustment of placement fees, NAQEZ fears that many medical students and nurses will be forced to abandon their studies or avoid doing the practical part of training.
He claims that this will hugely compromise the quality of education and of training of the medical personnel.
“Once we have half- baked nurses and doctors, because of lack of clinical placements, patients across the country will be put in danger. This path the Ministry has decided to take is clearly suicidal for the country. We therefore call on all Zambians to get concerned over this grave matter as it will affect all of us. NAQEZ will not allow a situation where the standards of education and training in any field will be affected by exorbitant fees,” said Mr. Chansa.
“NAQEZ supports the stance taken by both the Zambia Union of Nurses [ZUNO] and the Zambia Medical Association [ZMA] that the Ministry of Health must rescind this counter-productive increase in placement fees. We totally agree with the two organizations that these new fees are against the poor people of Zambia and will only succeed in pushing many vulnerable young people away from studying medical programmes.”
The NAQEZ Executive Director says the nation may wish to note that the clinical placement fees were only introduced in 2017 as a way of supporting the costs incurred by health institutions in providing conducive learning environments for students.
He recalled that in 2017, student medical doctors began to pay K174 per week for clinical placements.
“The new system will now require students to pay K1, 000 per week. We are not against paying this fee but we are passionately against this unusual increment. It is not good for the country. For Nurses, the increase is from K57.25 per week to K450 per week. With the above fee structure, the cost of sending a child to train in any medical field will now range from K22, 000 to K30, 000 per year. We find this hurting to the poor, the youth and an act against quality education,” he lamented.
“We are surprised that Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, who himself did not pay these fees, could allow this kind of increment. He knows that this will terribly affect the poor and the medical fraternity. The Minister is also aware that his Ministry has an inescapable responsibility to train quality medical personnel for the country. Let the Minister reverse this decision in the interest of quality training, the poor and the wider interest of the country.”

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