Wits international students’ lobbies to cut ties with their medical aid helped them in getting their Campus Health doctor back.

The medical aid group Primecure surprisingly dropped their resident doctor Dr. O Akerele with no explanation.

Akerele, one of two Campus Health and Wellness Centre doctors, was dropped earlier this year. International students received an e-mail about the change from Momentum Health’s student segment specialist, Neville Govender.

The e-mail read: “Please be advised that Dr. Akrele’s practice at Campus Health and Molemo Clinic is no longer a registered Primecure provider.” It also gave them two off-campus, Braamfontein doctors as alternatives.

Akerele said: “[They] only re-instated [me] because of the pressure from Wits, because all the International students know me.”

The Wits International Office and Campus Health & Wellness centre both said Akerele had been re-instated as of Monday,March 28.

But Akerele said that no one had notified him of this as he explained how his unfair dismissal affected his attitude toward the Primecure group.

 “I feel very let down by the team,” he said, explaining that the root of this issue was linked to the “Bogus Nigerian Doctors” story that made national news in February this year.

On February 9, six Nigerian doctors were arrested on charges of using bogus qualifications to work as doctors in South Africa. It later emerged that four of the six doctors were registered with the Health Professionals’ Council of SA (HPCSA) but were not permitted to work in private healthcare, only public.

A number of students who asked to remain anonymous criticised the way in which the issue has been handled saying they felt they weren’t given sufficient explanation as to why their doctor was dropped. 

But Ellen Downing, 2nd year BA, expressed her frustration with the International Office’s role in the issue. She also explained how inconsiderate it was to suggest alternative doctors who were not on campus, “I’m a second year, but what about the 1st years who aren’t used to Braamfontein?”   

Wits University requires all international students to sign up with a South African medical aid scheme. It also recommends Ingwe Health as consultation hours occur on campus. 

Ingwe is a student plan under Momentum Health which uses Primecure as a service provider for its members.

Neville Govender couldn’t comment on the matter, saying he was “not at liberty to respond” until they had received feedback from the Primecure group.