70 medical students leave for Zambia, Zimbabwe

70 medical students leave for Zambia, Zimbabwe

Rose Moremoholo

MASERU

HEALTH and Education Ministers yesterday bid farewell to 70 students who will be studying medicine in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The students were enrolled at the Lesotho Medical School which collapsed late last year after the Council on Higher Education declined to accredit it because it did not have enough infrastructure and lecturers.

Bidding them farewell yesterday, Education Minister MahaliPhamotse said when she pledged over the radio earlier this year that they would be transferred to Zambia and Zimbabwe she “had nothing to stand on to affirm that”.

“I have worked hard to make this possible today because you gave me the passion and drive to make it possible for you,” Phamotse said.

“You gave us sleepless nights through your regular visits at our offices,” she said.

“I even had to visit Zambia without any appointment whatsoever with the ministers in that country. I had no bodyguards or any ambassador to accompany me. But we won at the end,” Phamotse said.

Health Minister ’MolotsiMonyamane said it was not a very pleasant experience for him to scare the students when they threatened to go on strike after it became clear that their school had collapsed and their future was hanging in the balance.

“But today we celebrate victoriously,” Monyamane said.

“We trust in you for a better future. We say to you safety first. Take good care of yourselves and remember that drugs and alcohol will never run out. Having babies is not what you were sent to school to get. There is time for that when you are done with your studies,” he said.

He said a school “does not make a good doctor but it is self-determination and the love of being a doctor that you become a good doctor”.

Dean of the Lesotho Medical School, Dr ’MusiMokete, said he was happy that despite the hardships Basotho doctors are being trained for Lesotho.

“In Lesotho we have a challenge of having one doctor treating at least 20 000 patients and in this crisis we are number one in HIV/AIDS and TB prevalence and we have one of the highest maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Therefore once we have more doctors we will be able to fight this crisis,” Mokete said.

“We have tried several times to start a medical school but have faced hiccups. Ministers need to be ready to start a medical school, in the future everything should be ready financially to support the school,” he said.

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