Auxilia Katongomara in Havana, Cuba
ZIMBABWEAN medical students studying here have been encouraged to take up specialist training in their fields of study in order to be relevant and contribute to the county’s health system which is lacking at home.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technological Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo emphasised that students needed to research widely and take into account the state of the field back home and know what they offer before undertaking studies in order for them to contribute to the country’s industries, which he said were lacking experts as most people rushed to pursue studies in common areas.
Addressing the students, a majority of whom are undertaking medical studies, Prof Moyo said the country was in need of experts in all areas.
“The country now is interested in the training of high level specialist skills not general practitioners, if you waste your time, seven years doing that you will be disappointed when you come back home,” said Prof Moyo.
Prof Moyo said India and Cuba were among the countries that Zimbabwe looks up to in terms of medical sciences advancement.
“I think you are doing well. You are among the fortunate few and you happen to be in a country that is an inspiration to many and we want to renew our relationship with this country because it’s a respected country which has done well against all manner of odds,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe Vice chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura whose institution runs one of the best medical schools in Southern Africa encouraged the students not to delve into programmes that were flooded already.
“We are interested in experts and don’t think too small, you really need to think at a higher platoon if you really want to be useful in Zimbabwe. We don’t need people who say I am a doctor but we now need people who say I am an oncologist and we know that we have someone who is useful because they are not there” said Prof Nyagura
“We have enough physicians and general practitioners already and we need specialist practitioners so if you jump into an area that is already flooded you will be irrelevant”.
Some of the 11 students who met the delegation are on Cuban scholarship, some are on Government scholarship while others are self sponsored. The students shared their experiences in Cuba and said they appreciated the expert knowledge they were receiving from the universities.
One of the students, James Nebarara who graduated with a Masters degree in engineering last Saturday was crowned the Best Foreign Student and offered a place to pursue a PHD in the same field.
Speaking on behalf of other students, Nebarara said they were grateful to Government for its support but, however, asked authorities to expeditiously send their stipends.
The students pleaded with Minister Moyo to assist them in getting money from home as the cash crunch was also biting them.
The scholars had an interactive session with vice chancellors from Zimbabwe’ State universities where they shared their experiences and vision.
They said they were willing to return home to serve the nation after their studies.
Great Zimbabwe University Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo said:
“Do what you came here to do and go back home with your profession and justify why you came here, please stay out of trouble, when you do something nasty you will be placing the name of Zimbabwe on the wrong spot. We always hear stories of other students from other countries who are sent back home because of unbecoming behaviour so we are encouraging you to be disciplined at all times.”
Cuban Higher Education Minister Cde Jose Saborido Loidi said 186 Zimbabwean students had graduated from the country’s tertiary institutions.
Zimbabwe is facing a critical shortage of specialist medical practitioners a situation which has seen hundreds of patients travelling to other countries to seek treatment.