As part of the implementation of a new national strategy, the Ministry of Higher Education plans to revise the medical training period, judging it appropriate to reduce it to 6 years instead of 7 years. A reform which aims to respond to the challenge of the generalization of social security, but also to the shortage of doctors which is affecting Morocco. Is this the right strategy to follow? What are the means to deploy to support this reform? MoroccoLatestNews UK spoke to two experts, including a former university professor about it.
Reached by our editorial staff, Abderrahim Chab, of the National Council of the Order of Physicians (CNOM) tells us that he had already recommended reducing the years of medical training in his book ” The bases of the reform of the health system in Morocco, thing that can be “attractive” according to him for young Moroccans since it is“doable”.
“In Morocco, there are many subjects which are taught at the faculty, but which are of no use at all in medical practice. Today, he advocates reducing the years of training in medicine, it’s a good thing, but it’s still a half solution. Because the other half is paid appropriately to the doctor, after the completion of his training, providing him with the means to work (equipment, infrastructure, etc.), since we cannot ask doctors to do the impossible in the face of a lack of means“says this former university professor.
While proposing to make a Benchmark of the countries having opted for the reduction of the number of years of study in medicine and which have even succeeded in this challenge, Dr Chab cites the example of “Cuba which is the best international model which has succeeded in training for 5 years in medicine, and producing quality and very high level doctors. Besides, Americans do their medical studies in Cuba“, emphasizes the expert.
It is therefore a question of pedagogy, know-how and program that must change, says Dr Chab. “Today, we no longer need to go to the faculty to take a course. Everything is on the internet, so you don’t need a wall anymore, but practicehe says.
Indeed, this member of the CNOM considers that it is preferable that the medical student spends his first year in medical practice, even if he recognizes that it is a little difficult to digest.
“We are going to be told that there are not enough hospitals, etc. But, we must not forget that we have the liberal sector on which we can count, there are clinics and practices of quality and high levels and professors of excellence. The state can make an agreement or a contract with the private sector to allow daily medical practice for students and bring out quality doctors. But the problem that arises is that government officials do not sit down with professionals in the sector to give them tips. This is a very delicate subject that cannot be resolved by passing laws in parliament, and passing decrees that do not correspond to anything.“, he denounces.
To this end, Dr. Chab believes that it is urgent to open a social dialogue with the most representative trade unions in the sector as well as practitioners “so that we can arrive at very positive solutions and get Morocco out of this crisis“, he concludes.
Intensify training and diversify internship sites
Same story from the side of Dr Moulay Said Afif, president of the Moroccan Society of Medical Sciences (SMSM), who believes that it is a good idea to reduce the period of training in medicine while motivating doctors from the public as well as from private.
According to Dr. Afif, the reduction of the years of study in medicine should be accompanied by an intensification of training in addition to the diversification of training grounds for the benefit of students.
“Today, students are faced with non-existent internship sites. There is a service with several students for a single patient. Reason for which it is necessary to diversify the training grounds by making available peripheral hospitals or even private practices and clinics that will have to be accredited so that they also become training grounds“, recommends the expert.
To offer quality training to future doctors, Dr. Afif recommends taking advantage of the expertise and knowledge of professors who have gone abroad and who can lend a hand, before specifying that “it’s not a dozen professors in each university that will change things“.
In addition, the president of the Moroccan Society of Medical Sciences recalls the painful reality of University Hospital Centers (CHU) in Morocco which are supposed to provide internships to medical students, and of which Morocco has only 7 throughout the territory.
“We still have 5 regions that do not have a university hospital, which can also cause problems with the training of future doctors. Now, in addition to reducing the training period, we must put in place the means so that our doctors can work properly, and we must also motivate them, whether in the private or public sector.concludes Dr. Afif.