Written by 12:06 pm Society

Medical students announce nationwide open strike over Ministerial reforms, overcrowding

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Students from medical, pharmacy, and dental faculties are set to engage in a comprehensive and open strike, including boycotting training in both hospitals and classes as well as refusing to take all exams starting from December 16, 2023.

The escalation plan was agreed upon on Wednesday by the vast majority of medical and pharmacy students during a meeting that took place at various faculties throughout the Kingdom.

The revised set of demands, of which Hespress EN obtained a copy, put forward by the National Commission for Medical, Pharmaceutical, and Dental Students, underscored several uncompromised points that ensure high-quality in their education, leaving no room for subpar training.

The first point concerns the categorical rejection to accept the reduction in the years of medical education. This is mainly due to the lack of legal and regulatory guidelines.

This includes the incomplete structuring of the third cycle as well as the lack of necessary legal provisions, and the exclusion of students from the decision-making process, all of which eventually could compromise the quality of their diploma.

As to their second demand, Hespress EN learned that students are against the ongoing expansion of the number of students, mainly due to limited training resources, including hospitals, rooms, and amphitheaters.

They fear that such “an arbitrary increase”, according to the same source, would degrade the quality of their training.

For this reason, medical students are urging for reevaluation of the entrance threshold and the examination process.

“The amphitheaters currently do not have sufficient space to accommodate the growing number of students. Simply increasing the number of students without correspondingly raising the number of professors and rooms would inevitably affect training quality,” commented Mohammed Rachad El Mallouki, member of the National Commission for Medical, Pharmaceutical, and Dental Students.

El Mallouki added, “our concern is not about producing a large number of doctors as much as training highly qualified doctors who will safeguard the well-being of Moroccan citizens.”

The third main demand is for the inclusion of family medicine modules during “the fundamental years of medical education.” This would happen in the final year and must be entirely optional, without any obligation to obtain a medical doctorate or pass clinical examinations.

Their demand also encompasses a plea to enhance educational infrastructure that guarantees a high quality of education.

They stressed the importance of offering well-equipped training spaces that can accommodate all students while also providing adequate supervision. This includes “restricting training in university hospitals solely to medical students from public faculties.”

Students are additionally advocating for comprehensive protection against work-related accidents and illnesses.

They also call for the adoption of new legal provisions to ensure that students in university hospitals from the third to the sixth year have the appropriate status.

Given the tasks that medical students are required to accomplish in their training, there is a pressing need for an increase in compensation.

“The current amount of 21 MAD per day is insufficient to cover our essential needs, including transportation and food expenses, highlighted El Mallouki.

According to the National Commission’s press release, “they hold the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation responsible for the state of tension and anger among students who cannot remain silent in the face of these ongoing transgressions.”

The Commission calls on the government and the responsible ministries to directly and urgently address their pressing demands.

In 2022, Morocco’s Higher Education Minister, Abdellatif Miraoui, said the duration of medical training should be reduced to 6 years, rather than 7, to guarantee medical coverage across the country, following the instructions of King Mohammed VI.

The goal of reducing the number of years of medical education and increasing the number of accepted students is to achieve a ratio of 46 doctors per 10,000 people by 2035.

The ministry’s strategy is based on increasing the number of graduates from 2092 per year to 6530 by 2025 and 8770 by 2030, eventually reaching a total doctor count of 16590 by 2025 and 49650 by 2030.

This strategy aims to exceed the World Health Organization’s doctor availability rate of 25 doctors per 10 thousand individuals by 2025, reaching 26 doctors per 10 thousand individuals.

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