MOST of the Solomon Islands medical students who have graduated from Cuba and are currently on probation at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) have failed their Medical Dental Board (MDB) exam.
The test was conducted by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) after months of attachment at the hospital.
Once they pass this exam they can proceed to do their residency intern program in the country.
A local doctor at the NRH, who wants his name withheld, revealed this in an exclusive interview.
He said out of the total 27 students who have completed their studies in Cuba only six (6) passed have this exam while the remaining 21 failed.
The officer explained the MDB exam is a requirement under the MHMS policy for trainee interns such as those returning from Cuba to sit the exam, and if they pass it they can start their intern program.
“It is a requirement of the MHMS for medical students studying abroad, apart from graduate doctors from Papua New Guinea and Fiji,” the officer said.
Such poor performances have already triggered serious concerns because these students have spent five years studying medicine in Cuba, it was highlighted.
The recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing in Parliament have recommended to the MHMS to put a halt on Cuban scholarships.
The source said since the return of the first group of medical students from Cuba in 2014 none of them have registered under the Solomon Islands Medical Dental Board (SIMDB) as yet.
Their performance is a concern for the MHMS, which resulted in the temporary suspension of the Cuban medical scholarship programme.
Permanent Secretary, Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said a request has been made to send more students next year, but the ministry is still to decide on that request.
He said currently there are over 80 students who have either graduated or are still studying under the Cuba programme and there is a need to integrate them first before sending more.
Dr Dalipanda said now there will be a struggle to find positions for them, and if the government is serious about integrating them, then there is a need to create new positions.
He said the idea was to staff doctors up to the area health centre level, more specifically to areas such as Afio, Kilu’ufi, Seghe, Avuavu, Tingoa and other areas that needs a doctor.
BY ELLIOT DAWEA