A Motswana medical doctor has taken the Botswana Health Professional Council (BHPC) to the High Court after it refused to register him querying his academic qualifications.
Court papers show that the doctor graduated from Central South University with a Master of Clinical Stomatology in Oral Maxillofacial Surgery in China in 2013. After his graduation, the doctor approached the BHPC for registration but the process was delayed until he approached the High Court for redress.
BHPC says it had serious doubts from the beginning whether the qualification of ‘Master of Clinical Stomatology in Oral Maxillofacial Surgery’ as presented by the Motswana doctor was a specialist qualification.
In an answering affidavit, Vice Chairman of the BHPC, Boago Moditshane states that the reasons for the doubts were the length of training as well as the subjects covered during the training.
“For instance, in South Africa, it would take one between 48-60 months to qualify as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. In the present case, the Applicant’s training only lasted 32 months, with part of that committed to learning the Chinese language,” said Moditshane.
The BHPC states that it made contact with Central South University via email to obtain some documents from it but it never responded.
“Instead a short message in Chinese appeared in the Registrar’s email from Central South University. The Registrar could not make sense of the message,” states Moditshane.
He also says that they received a Curriculum from the doctor which was forwarded to South Africa and Zimbabwe to ensure objectivity. The doctor had already complained about Oral Maxillofacial Surgery specialists that they were not properly qualified and were out to victimize him.
In response one of the South African officials said he was not in a position to comment on the matter since Botswana and South African ‘systems’ are different.
But in a strongly worded letter to the BHPC, the doctors accuse the Council of having difficulties in understanding the Chinese training program.
“It would seem in their minds that Oral Maxillofacial Surgery training should be modelled after the Western medical systems while ignoring that the Asian Subcontinent has its own civilisation and their courses are not influenced by Western civilisation models,” he said.
He added that “I’m a post graduate against two under graduate dentists provided by the BHPC to preside over my case and this was in my view a contempt of high degree, unless say if they were coming in as interns or as participant observers.”
He said his papers should have been assessed by a relevant postgraduate clinician as opposed to undergraduates who have no idea how post graduate training is done because they have never been part of it; in a way they are unqualified to assess postgraduates.
He pointed out that the contribution of these members further added to confusion of the assessment process; as they were not familiar with post graduate training of any sort.
“These developments soil the Council’s impartial stance not only in the eyes of plasticising members but also to onlookers without. It beats logic to realise that I graduated from the very same country and education system from which Botswana recruits specialists and they are registered with BHPC,” said the doctor.
“I must declare, I have respect for the BHPC, but it hurts me to see the organisation’s name being dragged in the mud by some of its board members. This kind of unprofessionalism only makes us as Batswana, question the credibility/quality of the work BHPC is doing,” said the doctor.
He added that one could deduce that the BHPC members who are predominantly “brainwashed by their graduation from USA, South Africa and Western Europe hold graduates from elsewhere with contempt and fail to comprehend with their standing as evidenced by my case.”
The doctor said that “these Western countries as well as South Africa have not expressed interest in training our own citizens in the area of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, at least to my knowledge.”
Yet, he said, the BHPC “wants to religiously hold their training standards and protocol as a yardstick to register our local citizens who have been trained elsewhere. This is mental and academic colonialism.”
The doctor alleges that graduates emerging from Asian institutions bear the most brunt and rebuke and are under scrutiny that cannot be explained as evidenced by his treatment at the hands of the hands of the BHPC.
The doctor says he fears for the lives of his colleagues who are pursuing postgraduate studies as there is a BHPC member who is hell bent on destroying careers of Batswana doctors.
“I feel sorry for my country when I see personalities supporting nationals from elsewhere to be registered as specialists and they cannot do the same to their countrymen. One wonders how we get motivated when our skills and expertise go to waste when we should be coming back to give back to our country but then foreigners are elevated at the expense of locals,” he said.
He argues that Cubans and Indians who have done three years of training in Maxillofacial Surgery just as he did are registered without any question; in fact some of them do not even meet the standard as prescribed by the Act.
BHPC is represented by Monthe and Marumo Attorneys (incorporating Molatlhegi Associates) while the Motswana doctor is represented by KebonyeModisa Law Practice.