The Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) has with immediate effect nullified the September 2023 professional licensure exams including the practical exams which were to commence on Monday next week due to malpractice.
HPCZ Registrar, Fastone Goma, said following the cancellation of the theory exams for Bachelor of Medicine, Surgery and Pharmacy on Tuesday, an alternative theory paper was administered the same day in the afternoon, a decision which would be subjected to the training and examinations committee which conveyed for an extraordinary meeting on Friday.
Addressing Journalists at a media briefing in Lusaka on Friday, Goma said the committee nullified the alternative paper and consequently advised that the pharmacists’ exams also be nullified.
He further explained that the Council was planning to inform affected candidates of the nullification, adding that it received further information from whistleblowers claiming that there were further security breaches which were investigated and discovered to be true.
“HPCZ was aware that this level of malpractice has potential to instigate widespread doubt in the credibility and value of the licensure exams and has assured to put in place enhanced security controls to prevent a repeat of what has happened with the September exams,” Goma said.
He reiterated the Council’s assurance and commitment to putting in place enhanced security controls to prevent a repeat of what had happened with the September examinations.
Goma said HPCZ took measures before printing the examination papers, but it was evident that there was need to revisit its protocols to protect the quality assurance examinations.
“Patient safety remains our major concern, that is why we are deeply saddened that someone decided to risk the lives of many by circulating examination papers that should not have reached any candidate outside of the examination room,” he said.
Goma said investigations into the malpractice had progressed and HPCZ was working with government agencies and law enforcement officers to establish the source of the breach.
He further said the nine members of staff who were suspended on suspicion of leaking the papers are still on suspension until the process was concluded.
“We have withheld their identities bearing in mind the ‘Presumption of Innocence’ until proven guilty as demanded by Law. HPCZ has given priority to this investigation to ensure that the culprit(s) are brought to book,” Goma said.
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