The Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) is a statutory body established through an Act of Parliament, the Health Professions Act No.24 of 2009 of the Laws of Zambia. This Act provides for:
- Registration of health practitioners and regulate their professional conduct;
- Licensing of public and private health facilities Accreditation of health care services provided by health facilities
- Recognition and approval of training programmes for health practitioners
- Matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.
In accordance with Section 35 (1) of the Health Professions Act, the Council is mandated to regulate “the nature and extent of continuing professional development and training to be undertaken by health practitioners”. One such area where the Council is instituting regulatory mechanism is through the Student Indexing System which has become a local, regional and global practice.
The Council believes that student indexing mechanism will foster an early sense of professional responsibility, accountability as well as provide a basis for monitoring compliance to the admission criteria for students pursuing health related training programmes.
The decision to commence student indexing and regulation was made at the full Council meeting held on 20th December, 2013 and the process commences through guidelines in accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act No 24 of 2009 of the Laws of Zambia.In order to strengthen the student indexing system, the Council has instituted a parallel process of the student indexing system with the development of relevant Statutory Instruments to consolidate the whole process.
Rationale for Student Indexing and Regulation
Student indexing is a mandatory procedure of registration of students by assigning them unique identifiers. This process is applicable to all those enrolled to undertake approved certificate, diploma and degree programmes in training institutions recognized by the Health Professions Council of Zambia.
The need to develop, promote, maintain and improve appropriate standards of qualification in the health profession as prescribed in the Act, necessitated the commencement of indexing and regulation of students. In addition it promotes the integrity, and enhance the status, of the health profession.
The prevailing practice is that local institutions such as the General Nursing Council of Zambia, the Engineering Institution of Zambia, Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants and regional institutions such as the Health Professions Council of South Africa are equally Indexing students. This ensures that all enrolled students meet the minimum admission requirements before they commence training.Therefore, all students pursuing primary qualification programmes are required to be indexed by the Health Professions Council of Zambia in order to regulate quality of training.
Objectives of Student Indexing
Health Professions Council of Zambia maintains a database of students pursuing health related programmes at certificate, diploma and degree levels in recognised training institutions. The system is currently providing data benchmarks for ;
- Monitoring compliance to the admission criteria for students pursuing health related training programmes.
- Determining student- teacher ratio
- Tracking the development of health professionals.
- Inculcate professionalism and professional accountability at early stages of professional development.
- Educating and Sensitizing students on various laws, policies, protocols and guidelines which establish the Health Profession.
- Enhance and Rebuild the status of the Health Profession
- Provide a link between the learners, training institutions and HPCZ.
- Forecasting, Human resource planning, employment and deployment to the health related labour market.
Benefits of the Student Indexing System
Information gathered indicate that the benefits of student indexing is tri-dimensional i.e to the students, the regulatory body and the training institution.
Benefits to the Student
The indexing guidelines are beneficial to the students by providing an early link with HPCZ during training. It gives them the confidence that they have met the criteria and confirm that they are bona fide students in the related health profession programme. The key direct benefit is the free orientation package which the Council is providing to the students upon commencement of the training programme. The package includes among other things;
- Health Professions Act
- Code of Conduct for Health Practitioners
- National Health Care Standards
- Guest Lectures from HPCZ
- Generation and Management of Patients Records
- Guidelines on Infection Prevention and Waste Management
- Patient Confidentiality Guidelines
- Patient Consent Guidelines
- Guidelines on Perverse Incentives
- Guidelines on Withholding Treatment
These documents are essential and provide the foundation of professionalism and continuity of the health profession therefore; the Council intends to ensure that students are grounded in the principles of these documents during and after training.
Benefits to Health Professions Council of Zambia
Indexing is a mandatory procedure by HPCZ and it is intended to;
- Facilitate the tracking of indexed students during and after training, and ensure compliance to the admission, training and student examination requirements.
- It provides tracking of students from enrolment in the training pipeline and allows for monitoring of student performance, completion rates and provide benchmarks for programme evaluation.
- It assists the Council to document the expected outputs from institutions and plan for the professional registration as well as provide essential data input to the Ministry of Health for planning, distribution and allocation of human resources in the health sector.
Benefit to the Training Institution
Indexing provides data on students enrolled in training institutions to facilitate forecasting for teaching staff, acquisition of training requirements, examinations and professional needs of the country. Training institutions are able to measure their own compliance against the entry standards set by HPCZ.
Furthermore, it strengthens and enhances links between HPCZ and training institutions with relation to student admission and examination requirements.
- Indexing Procedure
- First time applicants
- Required Documents
Students indexing (Registration) for the first time shall complete Application Form attached at Appendix “A”. Pay the prescribed fees and submit all the required documents to the Council through the training institutions or individually. The required documents for each student shall be submitted to the Council by the training institution or individuals as follows:
- Duly completed Student Indexing(Registration) Application Form attached as appendix ‘A’
- Acceptance letter from the Training Institution
- Certified copy of the Grade 12 certificate/GCE or its equivalent
- A photocopy of the National Registration Card for Zambians
- Valid immigration and passport documents for non-Zambians
- One passport size photograph
- Payment of student Indexing Fee
- Acceptance or Covering letter by the head of institution/department Indicating that the student had been accepted and enrolled for a particular programme.
Prescribed Fees For Student Indexing
|Programme||Index Fee (ZMW)|
After the verification and validation of the indexing documents, the following procedures will be effected:
- Each qualified applicant will be assigned a unique HPCZ identifier (Index Number) which will be linked to the student examination number.
- Individual files will be opened for each of the qualified applicants which will provide a basis for registration as a professional after completing the programme
- Indexing will be done by the Registrar based on the authenticity of documents provided by each applicant.
- A list of indexed students will be forwarded to the respective training institutions.