The Zambia Medical Association has opposed the increase of attachment fees for medical students by the ministry of health.
In a statement, Thursday, association president Dr. Abidan Chansa said the increase in fees would put more pressure on students from poor families whose parents were already struggling to source funds for them with the current biting economy.
“The Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) Executive has learnt that the Ministry of Health has released a memo to the effect that clinical placement fees have been revised upwards. We have seen this memo doing the rounds on Social Media. Our members have asked very important and pertinent questions that beg answers. We have also noted the outcry from members of the public. We wish to put it on record that we do not agree with this increase in the clinical placement fees. In fact, this goes against most of the pronouncements that have been made by the Minister of Health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya. This memo goes against some of the tenets of the 7 National Health Strategic Plan 2017-2021, the National Development Plan,” Dr. Chansa said.
Chansa said the increase in fees would put more pressure on students from poor families whose parents were already struggling to source funds for them with the current biting economy.
“It is our considered view that these fees are aimed at weakening the Private Sector involvement in the affairs of medical education and health service provision which will be catastrophic in the long run if left unchecked. The current economic situation does not allow in the remotest of terms to effect such astronomical increases in the fees. As professionals who interact with most of these students on a daily basis, it is clear to see that most of them come from poor families, like most of us did “who are privileged today” at the time we were in medical school,” Dr. Chansa said.
“It is clear that their families are struggling to make ends meet and are sacrificing a great deal for the education of their children, whose education should be treasured as these are our future national heritage. These are sons and daughters of fellow doctors, nurses, teachers and other civil servants, as well as unemployed Zambians and those struggling in business who have not seen adjustments in their incomes, and yet strive to offer meaningful education to their children.”
Dr. Chansa has since called on the ministry of health to rescind its decision.
“We should also remember that in our current developmental agenda, we cannot afford to neglect education and only think of it as a preserve of the rich. We are duty bound to promote harmony and inclusive engagement. Lastly as an Association we call upon other relevant Government agencies like the Business Regulatory Authority to assist in the formulation of policy on matters that affect the economic situation of the intended consumers of such policy. We are calling upon the Ministry of Health to withdrawal the said memo and call for a meaningful stakeholder engagement as we seek the way forward,” said Dr. Chansa.