A five year old standoff between the Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC) and Bonolo Monnathoko Molefe has reached the High Court as a compromise seems impossible.
Monnathoko Molefe graduated with a Master of Clinical Stomatology in Orthodontics from Wenzhou Medical University in China.
However, upon completion in July 2015 she was not granted license to practice in China since the country has reserved the privilege for its citizens only, according to her lawyer Uyapo Ndadi.
When she applied for license to practice as a Specialist Orthodontist in Botswana, the BHPC was not very keen to grant it since she was not granted such license in the country of her training (China) as required by the BHPC Act.
One of the requirements however, is that a graduate from a foreign country should embark on a two year Internship under a qualified and experienced practitioner which Monnathoko Molefe did.
The BHPC recommended Dr Boipelo Moesi for her internship but the Dentist declined and she identified Dr Gulubane for the four year internship.
Upon completion, the BHPC once again declined to grant her a practicing license on grounds that Dr Gulubane was at the time a Dental Board member and that he would be conflicted to supervise her.
Ndadi argued that it is surprising that Monnathoko Molefe’s Chinese classmates are allowed to practice in Botswana without having to undergo any troubles, adding that the Chinese government has adopted a policy to prohibit foreigners to practice in the country.
He said the BHPC has never raised issue with her qualifications, or anything in relation to her environment of learning.
He said that denying his client a license will seriously prejudice her and will be a form of discrimination of Batswana in favour of foreigners which is against the government’s ambitions as laid out in the Vision 2036 among other policies.
However, Kgalalelo Monthe for the BHPC argued that the council was not happy with her qualification saying the council is trying to protect patients from less qualified practitioners.
He said the Council was not happy that she opted to undergo internship under Dr Gulubane who was not their preferred candidate for her.
He added that a BHPC Fact-finding mission to China were not impressed with some Modules for the Programme and that Chinese graduates are also required to undergo some form of internship before they can be granted license to practice in their country.
He warned that the courts should not assume the responsibility of Regulatory Bodies since judges are not experts in such fields they regulate.
“My Lord the BHPC simply wants to entrust the right people with our teeth, so that the practitioner doesn’t cut your tongue while trying to attend your tooth,” he said.
Justice Dr Gofrey Radijeng will deliver the ruling in December.