The Health Professionals Council of Zambia has asked Copperbelt University to immediately stop offering two programmes at its School of Medicine saying the institution has no capacity to offer the said courses.

In a statement today, HPCZ registrar Dr Aaron Mujajati announced that the council had withdrawn recognition and approval of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery and the Bachelor of Dental Surgery after an inspection revealed over enrollment of students, inadequate number of lecturers and engaging unlicensed lecturers, among other issues.

“In the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme, the university over enrolled by 494 students bringing the total number pursuing this programme to 794. The lecturer- student ratios therefore exceed the recommended 1 to 50 for theory for students in clinical years 3 to 5 and the practical ratios of 1 to 10 for students in both the foundation and clinical years…another major finding is lack of lecturers in several courses including Psychology, Histology, Pathology and Body Dysfunction,” Dr Mujajati stated.

“The above situation is indicative of the fact that HPCZ cannot be assured of safety of the public once exposed to the services of the graduates in the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and it is clear that CBU currently has no capacity to offer this programme, thus the decision to withdraw the certificate of approval and subsequent closure of the programme.”

He stated that with regard to the Bachelor of Dental Surgery programme, it was discovered that CBU engaged an unregistered coordinator who had been practicing without a license since January 2017, two other lecturers were not registered with HCPZ and all 198 students under the program were not indexed.

“The programme cannot be allowed to continue with the above mentioned irregularities; consequently, the certificate of approval stands withdrawn and the programme is closed,” Dr stated Mujajati.

“The Health Professionals Council of Zambia has since advised Copperbelt University that the two programmes withdrawn will only be reinstated after all recommendations have been addressed, at which point the university can put in a fresh application to the council for reassessment. Meanwhile, no academic activities shall be conducted in the cited programmes until CBU demonstrates capacity to produce safe Health Practitioners. HCPZ will not tolerate that schools that are familiar with the rules, to deliberately continue inconveniencing students and parents.”

Mujajati stated that HPCZ carried out an initial investigation in April and advised CBU to iron out challenges but whilst some progress was made, the institution still lacked capacity to offer the courses.