Exams for clinicals officers questioned

Dear editor,


Allow us to use your platform to express our concerns and inform the general public on the gross mismanagement of the Examination Council Of Health Sciences (ECOHS) under one Dr Marimo which has led to the training of ill-equipped and deadly clinical officers.

Clinical Officers (CO’s) are trained for a period of 3 years. They are the health personnel manning most local clinics located in remote areas where they work unsupervised. When a person is sick and go to a clinic for medical help, the odds are that that person will be attended to by a clinical officer. Therefore, we strongly believe, CO’s ought to be well taught and examined in order to avoid fatalities as a result of mismanagement of patients. Unfortunately, the exams that were offered to the CO’s in June were PATHETIC, SUBSTANDARD and should be NULLIFIED!!! Let us list some of the problems we have witnessed with ECOHS under Dr Marimo.

The theory exams were ill prepared. They were the most substandard exams we have ever seen. We can truly say those exams were prepared by secretary or a person who lacks medical knowledge. Students who sat for those exams can be our witnesses. During the marking process, we were shocked to see the level of mediocrity in those exams. For example, Obstetrics and Gynaecology looked like a paper that was downloaded from a Canadian website while Medicine, Peadiatrics and Surgery had the most and worst mistakes. In Medicine, even the numbering of questions was a mess. We are reliably informed that for one of the Surgery papers, we not sure whether it was finals paper or the intermediates, the markers decided to discard the entire ‘Section A’ which had 50% of the marks because the instructions given where wrong i.e. the instructions read as ‘CHOOSE ONE CORRECT ANSWER’ in a section that had multiple answers. As a result, students from other schools chose the best answer, while students from other schools chose several answers. As a results, the markers had to discard the section because the exam paper was poorly prepared all thanks to Marimo’s poor management. Please, if there is any student out there who fails these exams, our advice is, Appeal! Take ECOHS and Marimo to court! Believe me when I say, those exams cannot stand the test of time in a court of law!

Practical exams were held for a period of 8 days in July. The exams were supposed to be OSCE’s. We were examining about 55 students per day. However, we had no manpower because most examiners shunned this exercise all thanks to Dr Marimo. This resulted in examiners offering substandard exams. Dr Marimo asked the examiners to formulate practical exam questions just a day before the exams. My question is—How do you surely make exam questions just a day before the exams? How do you offer exams to students that have not been reviewed by the Board of Examiners? Unfortunately, this contributed to the mediocrity of the exams. For example, instead of practical exams for Paediatrics, some students were made to do theory exams while others did practical exams. This rendered the exams to be unfair. I strongly urge anyone who fails in paediatrics to challenge the results in court!

The marking exercise was supposed to be conducted in 10 days. Dr Marimo booked Cresta Golf View Hotel as the venue. However, he pushed the markers to quickly mark everything in less than 7 days thereby compromising on the quality of marking. All examiners were supposed to be payed K250 per day for 10 days transport allowance which translates to K2500. Dr Marimo told everyone that they will be payed K2500 transport regardless of how many days they marked. Since he pushed us so much, many managed to finish marking in less than 10 days. However, we were shocked to have been payed only K2000. If Marimo had let us take our time and mark the papers properly within the 10 stipulated days, we could have gone to 10 days, then we could have been payed the K2500 that we clearly deserve. However, Marimo broke his promise and didn’t pay as in full. Once again, if any student failed any of these exams, PLEASE APPEAL! We marked your theory papers under duress and chances are EXTREMELY HIGH that we made mistakes! Please appeal! You will do yourself a lot of good.

Dr Marimo instructed all the schools affiliated with ECOHS to submit continuous assessment (CA’s) way before the exams. However, when we were entering the results, Dr Marimo’s couldn’t produce the CA’s we had sent from our respective institutions. As a result, private schools took advantage of this and started altering the CA’s in order to make their students pass. It was so shocking that Marimo couldn’t do anything about it! This is why we say, ECOHS is producing deadly clinical officers because students that failed ended up passing as a result of CA altering! HPCZ should investigate this claim!

Dr Marimo did not disclose exactly how much money the examiners were to be paid for invigilation, practical exams and marking of theory papers. During the meeting that was held just before the exams started, Dr Marimo refused to say exactly how much and when the examiners where to be paid. Dr Marimo has a habit of misusing ECOHS funds. Each student pays K900 to ECOHS for intermediates and K1200 for the finalists. We had about 1150 students. This means, Dr Marimo is sitting on over K1,035,000 in exam fee’s, yet he has failed to pay us up to now. In fact, Dr Marimo misuses ECOHS money. When he took over from Dr Sekelani Banda his predecessor, ECOHS had more than K1million in its account. However, Dr Marimo has somehow managed to deplete that account. Reliable sources from his office disclosed that he has walked away with K83,000 from the July exams while he has just payed us K2000.

Dr Marimo should stop blaming Dr Sekelani Banda, his predecessor, for his incompetences and short-comings. In fact, Dr Banda did a better job when he was head of ECOHS than Marimo is doing now. We have heard time and time again from reliable sources that every time Dr Marimo is confronted by the Dean Prof. F. Goma, he threatens to resign. Please Prof. Goma, accept his resignation. This man has wrecked ECOHS! What does he have on you which has stopped you from FIRING him? Dr Marimo is the rudest individual on earth that we have ever worked with! He lacks courtesy, he his a dictator like his brother Robert Mugabe and is an extremely bad manager! If his qualities as a manager of ECOHS is a reflection of his qualities as a Doctor, then he is a bad doctor! Maybe thats why he wants to produce bad Clinical Officers…

Our recommendations are: HPCZ should investigate Dr Marimo and replace him soonest. HPCZ shouldn’t allow Dr Marimo to handle the December exams. Finally HPCZ should take samples of the exams that the students sat for and see for themselves the mediocrity we are talking about! We strongly recommend that the students be re-examined under proper leadership bearing in mind that the June exams were a JOKE…

See you at 9:00 on Tuesday Dr Marimo. Maybe you can explain yourself this time…

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