Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Medical Faculty Students Action Committee (MFSAC) – you are confused!

The MFSAC, I believe are wasting their time, and that of other Medical Students in agitating for the closure of SAITM, the only Sri Lankan based private institution that will offer Medical Qualifications. SAITM charges Rs6.5M for the full course, to qualify to become a medical practitioner.

That’s great because we now have a term of reference as to the value of a Free Medical Degree, courtesy of the Government of Sri Lanka. So all you Medical Students who have entered the various medical faculties of the Universities that have a Faculty of Medicine, (around 1000 a year), count your blessings. You are getting this value FREE, whilst the students at SAITM have to pay.

You are also sadly mistaken if you think that someone will use his own money to build a Faculty so he can charge fees and make a business out of it, to then because you say it must be closed down, give it over to the State!!! Surely if it was you who had to undergo such injustice, you would rather burn the place down!

In fact depending on the Faculty you go to, you have a chance of only getting a fraction of the facilities that the SAITM students get. So don’t waste time trying to close SAITM, spend the time trying to get your colleagues at Rajarata the basic facilities any Medical Student requires which they DO NOT have access to. Please remember that by closing SAITM, the Rajarata students ARE NOT going to get a better education. If it is standards you are concerned about, before looking into the inadequacies of the SAITM, first cover your selves by ensuring that the State Unis are AT LEAST as good. That is the first priority for the sake of your Education.

What are you really worried about? Is it that the new 1000 bed hospital, that Neville Fernando is building will have better facilities to train doctors in the latest techniques than the state institutions?  Yes I agree with you as things stand today, there is a question of are the facilities up to snuff and have they got all the bases covered? I also agree with you that they are not, but my contention is that many of the Govt. Uni Faculties that produce doctors have EVEN LESS! Answer that Q first please, before damning SAITM.

Let us clear up some confusing statements from MFSAC. They maintain they are concerned that the private institution does not have the facilities to train doctors to the same standard that the Govt. of Sri Lanka is doing through their Universities. Standards, what do they know about standards? They are students who do not know the difference from one Cadaver to another. There are many top faculty of the Universities who are moonlighting here, and due to the quality of English of the students in SAITM being far superior to those in Govt. Unis, have a huge advantage in the speed of gaining knowledge using all means including the latest learning techniques, of watching live and taped operations on TVs with explanations in English of what is being done and why. There is also a fear that despite the State Students who may have better A level results they are not cut out to be medical practitioners, and just go into it because they got in!! I know I am taking a strong line here. However not everyone who gets the highest mark is cut out to be a good doctor. For free education, it is the easiest method to choose people out of merit to get into the Faculty, and that is why you are probably there, whereas in society there may be 5 other people who did not get into Medical College who make better doctors than you. It is all possible.

I agree that these students are at SAITM because they have the money, as do all those who go overseas at the huge cost of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka, for education. However having money should not prevent them spending it in Sri Lanka. It is admirable to have a private medical school in Sri Lanka to at least attract some of those who otherwise would have gone overseas.

Your priorities, as local Uni Medical Students, are to force the Govt. to give you at least the basics. What should be next? If you value your education at all, as it is a passport to future riches. It is through this, not shutting out your competition that you will improve your knowledge. In fact by agitating you are taking away time you would otherwise spend in increasing the knowledge base you need in that profession.

There are fears that 1000 doctors passing out each year in the state sector is going to make it difficult to obtain employment and training in Sri Lanka. I believe the state should merely improve existing facilities and not increase the intake due to demand, and let the private sector take up the slack, as the state sector produces all the local need, and then some. Funding being the contentious issue.

If the question persists as to the quality of the education at SAITM, one simply requires them to pass the same exam other foreign qualified doctors, to gain the necessary practicing credentials in Sri Lanka, just as that which is required in other countries for locally qualified personnel, to practice in host countries. That should not create a problem and will satisfy some of the concerns of the students who are currently agitating for SAITM’s closure. It is worth remembering that the priority is the quality of care you are able to offer to your patient. It must be of the highest standard for you to feel satisfied in your vocation.


Anonymous said...

this is an interesting development and thank you for highlighting it in your blog.

the idea of a new state-of-the-art private medical school in Sri Lanka is exciting as it will raise standards in Sri Lanka as a result of competition.

i wonder how this will affect the bigger picture of medical care in Sri Lanka. If students are required to pay fees for their tuition, when they graduate will they be looking to migrate right away or will medical expenses increase locally as students try to recoup their costs? will this result in publicly trained doctors also raising their costs to cash in on the higher market rates for services? If so, are medical costs in Sri Lanka ready to begin an upward spiral which will affect the common man as his costs of living will suddenly increase with regard to health care?

on another note, i think that a certain percentage of the seats at the private college should be reserved for foreign students, as they will add a great deal to the learning experience of the local students plus bring in some foreign exchange for a change rather than our foreign exchange constantly leaving these pristine shores.

Anonymous said...

i know a fellow who just got 3s passses for ALs and had millions enterd SAITEM. still you say he makes a good doctor? remember majority who enroll there are all money no brains. it is not easier to treat patients like excelling in writing some emotional junk as you think. people who comes out of sate med facs are cream of intelligence, and know that they all did them in english. watching recorded stuff and knowing some para regional medicine with minimum hands on patients is what makes a doc in private facs. they know nothing of dengue management etc, of local medical issues.

intelligence matter in a docter, its life saving decisions they take, not to decide how to write emotioally. still medicine tops in SL, if there is someone smart enough ,worth to bee a doc, pass your ALs and reach for best 1000s of them. I doubt you did,by the talk of yours.

Anonymous said...

The Second comment is so vulgar. Let me take an example, Dr. Ben Carson was not a good performer in middle school. But he became the first Dr to do a bisection of a conjoined Twins from the head. Well the problem Sri Lanka has is competition, if you say the cream comes out of state medical faculties I think you mean who passed A/L the best. but Dude medicine is an art and I am a graduate of a foreign country and working there. You university students think you are the best but I have seen with my own eyes that there are better people around the world who could not pass A/L. Go and study in America your A/L will be worthless to you.

I believe the way you talk you are from the government university and you are a very narrow minded child. try to grow up and try to see the bigger picture. Do not try to compute your brain by how many As you get for A/L. that is not the way. (Just know that I am not saying that they are not Brainy of course they are)

But I am sure there are many others who passed A/L in lower manner but better in medicine than a guy who got 3 As. May be.

And do not be so arrogant try to capture the picture of the foreign investments which will bring down because of that. and also try to see that some of the students who are going to other countries to study will stay here for medicine which will be an income generation method for our beloved country.

Anonymous said...

The minimum requirement to enter saitm is 2C and S. The students are interviewed by UGC to see if they have the proper qualification. I have obtained 2As n B for AL bt I am still not qualified for local university but with my result I could have got a chance if I happened to live in a different district. so if I am qualified and is willing to pay shouldn't I b given a right to study in my own country?

Anonymous said...

I am a doctor in UK of Sri Lankan origin. I am an old Anandian who left mother Lanka at the age of 14 when my parents decided to return to UK just before the JVP insurrection. I have had junior doctors working under me who qualified in SL and have their "MD" ( now there's an oxymoron) who have consistently disappointed me with their inferior clinical prowess, slowness of speed of decision making, inability to process new information, inability to adapt to the changing clinical scenario who are holding a deep seated sense of arrogance that if they were a UK graduate we would be questioning how they ever got into medical school in the first place. What is more laughable is that they do actually consider themselves to be the best of the best. I feel embarrassed to introduce them to my English colleagues as fellow Sri Lankans. It is interesting that without exception these individuals actually believe that closing SAITM will somehow lead to better facilities for rajarata uni. In the same breath however these morons do profess to having ambitions of setting up in private practice which for some reason they call "chanelling". It took me sometime to realise that they were not contemplating a change of career to civil engineering, which in retrospect would have been safer for Sri Lankan patients. It is nothing short of jealousy that drives their hatred towards anything different to theirs. Perhaps a more rigorous means of selection to state medical schools should be used rather than a test of ability to keep a wet towel on the head and feet emersed in a basin of cold water(I am reliably informed that this is how some of these people stay wake to merely memorise tuition notes in order to pass their A'levels). That will weed out the mere fact recollectors from the truly intelligent.