LECTURERS in the department of surgery have withdrawn their teaching services at the University Of Zimbabwe College Of Health Sciences (UZCHS) which ‘unprocedurally’ replaced their Head of Department and ill-treatment of medical students.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) and Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) claim the dismissal of Dr David Muchuweti and Dr David Chimuka followed by the subsequent appointment of Professor Faith Muchemwa, contravened the University’s laws.
The associations say the suspension of the lecturers is detrimental to the partnership of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and a South African company on cardiothoracic surgery. They add that this fracas is injurious to the country’s health delivery system.
In a letter to the University seen by this publication, the department of surgery informed the authorities they were pulling out their services.
The department of Surgery UZ consultants have suspended their work services with immediate effect as they await for the Vice Chancellor to address them and give redress to the issues of unfair dismissal of their chairperson and the appointment of one Faith Muchemwa as substantive chairperson in total disregard to the standing statutes of the University,” said the department.
The suspension of Dr Muchuweti comes on the backdrop of the ill-treatment of the Part Five Medical Students (MBChB) as well as MMED students by the College of Health Sciences dean Professor Rangarirai Masanganise.
“The department wants urgent attention be given to the MBChB V 2019 group as well as the MMED students so that they can finish their last few lessons of education and write their final exams for exit from the system. The University is being urged to attend to the issue of the dividing dean whose actions are causing disharmony in the UZ College of Health Sciences,” added the Memo.
As the department of surgery, ZHDA and SHDA deem the treatment of 2019 Part Five Medical Students (MBChB) whose studies were halted due to the doctors’ job action, uncalled for, a part Five medical student who requested anonymity told this publication they once took the Varsity’s College of Health Sciences alongside its dean Professor Rangarirai Masanganise to court over the exams forced on them.
The court could not sit over the matter advising the students and the CHS dean to settle their differences out of court.
The Varsity set up a taskforce to dissolve the deadlock and map the way forward. The taskforce recommended that there be no examinations be written until such a time when the situation at the hospital normalized, a decision endorsed by the University Senate which voted for it.
Now that the situation at the hospital normalized in January following the return of doctors to work, the MBChB 5 students of 2019 expected to resume their studies with their lecturers ready to start teaching.
“So Masanganise called everyone else except our class MBChB 5. To make matters worse, without doing their fourth year rotations, they went into the final year yet we are still home. We wrote a letter following up on the dean about our return to school and was told they were fixing the issue.
“His plan is to fix us for taking him to court. The chairpersons told him to make us return to school. It’s tough. He doesn’t care about our class.
“When the accommodation portal opened, we applied but the now part fives they convinced the school to offer them places saying we weren’t at school. Masanganise wrote a letter advising the accommodation authorities to snub as we were home and be blacklisted from Res. It’s sad that when he is supposed to protect our interests he is suppressing us,” said the source familiar to the developments.
UZCHS Dean Prof Masanganise responding to the issue of students denied they were being ill-treated particularly on the issue of accomdation saying they were going to get the accommodation, something the part five students feel it’s like waiting for godot. He said the dismissal of Dr Muchuweti was something related to the Human Resources Department.
UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo said the dismissal of Dr Muchuweti was procedural.
“You know when you here side from one angle they wont tell you the reason for suspension,” he said. “It’s just that I am in a meeting I could have told you what led to this dismissal.”
Interestingly, it’s the second time Dr Chimuka has been dismissed by the University as he was fired last year for inciting the job action by doctors only to be reinstated barely a week later after lecturers in his department threatened to pull out their teaching services.