Doctors, Nurses, Teachers and Lawyers

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Author Godfrey Chitalu

…IDEATIONS…GoddyChitty @Large By Godfrey Chitalu

I HAVE a bone to chew with how doctors, nurses, teachers and lawyers are being discriminated with colossal fees and encumbrances before being allowed to practice.

Their levies and hurdles are deliberately designed as hindrances to their budding careers. Of course critics will question my justification for these outbursts. What can I expect from those who are benefiting, from an inherently warped but legit system?

My only qualification for writing this article is that my wife is a nurse, my brother a lawyer, our son a doctor and our niece a teacher. Apart from the aforementioned, I’m a free spirited and tax paying citizen, concerned with meaningless levies that need urgent reformation. 

Let’s start with doctors and health professionals! In the past few days there has been some beef about a supposedly quack doctor, as declared by Health Professions Council of Zambia.

 posted on Facebook on what qualification someone needs to be called a medical doctor. Is it after graduation from medical school or after being conferred with a stamp of authority worth K1200 from HPCZ? What happens to someone who graduates but does not want to practice and instead decides to run a not for profit? Will they be called quack doctors?

Away from that! In Zambia it seems money grows on trees! What justifications are there for prospective employees with certificates, diplomas and degrees to part away with between K700 and K2660 annually for a mere A4 certificate? Who determines these levies?

Are they linked to any productive ventures? Will for instance HPCZ die if the fees were halved? Is it a cash cow for their bloated workforce? Find time to visit their site and learn for yourself their fees structure. While all this is being done legitimately, there must be justifications for any money levied from our suffering masses.

•HPCZ was established under the Health Professions Act No. 24 of 2009 of the Laws of Zambia. It has a mandate of registering health practitioners, others than nurses and also institutions and facilities. Whoever regulates how much HPCZ charge must wake up from slumber. We need to make this noble institution fair to professionals ravaged economically by COVID 19.

The General Nursing Council is another octopus that need a close eye. Before I talk about their exorbitant registration procedures, all nurses are expected to buy uniforms from one source; GNC. Their centralized uniform venture, where all nurses have to pay through the nose is a case at hand.

The last time I did sums, money raised from uniform sales could well run a small uniform making factory, replete tailors. Take time to view their long price list on their website; though scary it does not fully explain the picture. Some philosophers say ignorance is expensive but in our case we scheme and ensure that our education becomes unnecessarily hyper expensive.

Although every nurse pays an annual practicing fee, the new entrants are heavily burdened. They are given limited time, to cough up money on registration. Uniform, registration, and related assortment fees run into thousands of Kwacha. Ironically those who struggle to pay, who invariably are form resource poor families are rewarded with a penalty fee. Imagine being charged extra because you are poor! There is need for major reforms; why certain institutions have been left to yoke our people, beats me.

Yes, the nursing council is legitimate but it can do something about reducing fees. It is there to regulate the nursing and midwifery education, training and practice. It ensures that the public receives the best possible nursing and midwifery care and thereby contribute to quality health care in our country.

The current situation for unemployed teachers is worrisome. I know of many teacher graduates who are unable to be considered for employment because they are not registered with the Teaching Council of Zambia.

The dichotomy is that the council elected to wholesomely collect fees from the larger unemployed basket for selfish reasons. Why not target the working class?

Why let more than hundred thousand loafers prop lavish lifestyles? It is clearly a fishing expedition to put registration with them as a requirement for employment. This is properly milking stones. I won’t even talk about their fees structures but morally speaking one can clearly see that all is not well.

I’m cognizant of the fact that the TCZ is a statutory body established in accordance with the Teaching Profession Act No.5 of 2013. It is a corporate body established to regulate the teaching profession through registration of teachers and accreditation of all colleges of education. Has anyone taken stock of how much money they have made from unemployed teachers?

We all know that Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education – ZIALE -is both a regulator and provider of legal education in our country; deciding who gets to practice law. With a deliberate pathetic pass rate, the institution has been in essence milking money for nothing. Perhaps we can’t fault people who say the institution is only interested in money. How can you explain that only a tiny percent manages to pass?

The role of Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education and even the Law Association of Zambia, is aware it seems is to ensure as few lawyers as possible get into practice. If there is one badly administered course in our country, it is the Legal Practitioners Qualifying Examination (LPQE), which is solely under the ambit of this embarrassingly impotent institution.

LAZ does not seem to mind that we are being held to ransom by an institution whose lecturers are happy with average 5% pass rates. When are we going to have district attorneys if the course that leads lawyers to be admitted to the bar, is a riddled hangover. To be failed is one thing but to be barred from writing another examination for five years is surely a legal but unnecessary hangover.

Although I’m not a doctor, nurse, teacher or lawyer, all I’m asking is for a fair deal. These professions are bearing the brunt of COVID 19 and must be helped by reducing unnecessary fees. I propose that HPCZ, GNC, TCZ and ZIALE should form a WhatsApp group to look at my article.

Lookout for the next version of IDEATIONS…GoddyChitty @Large on Kalemba

Author: Godfrey Chitalu is a social commentator who writes for pleasure.

For reactions and feedback call: 0977466284| 0963013760, Email: [email protected] (@goddychitty) Twitter|Facebook)

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