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Experts Ask Professional Councils to Regularly Review Medical Courses :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Experts Ask Professional Councils to Regularly Review Medical Courses

Currently according to Kiguli, while the ratio of trainer to student is 1:11 for pre-clinical medical schools and 1:7 for clinical students, teachers are too few yet students are too many making it difficult for them to follow what is being taught.
18 Apr 2024 13:53

Audio 4

Experts have asked the Uganda National Council for Higher Education to tighten the noose on accreditation and do regular reviews of the medical courses. This they say will maintain a good quality of health professionals who can ably meet the needs of Ugandans.

Speaking at an ongoing Health Professions Education (HPE) conference, Prof Sarah Kiguli a Pediatrician and lecturer at Makerere University said a lot of universities have been accredited to offer medical courses even when their infrastructure doesn’t meet the demands of such programmes.

She says while the National Council for High Education reviews courses and accredits institutions, they don’t go into details about knowing the training requirements such as having small numbers, good labs, and hospitals that are ready to give students hands-on skills. Currently according to her, while the ratio of trainer to student is 1:11 for medical schools for preclinical the teachers are too few yet students are too many. 

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Currently according to Kiguli, while the ratio of trainer to student is 1:11 for pre-clinical medical schools and 1:7 for clinical students, teachers are too few yet students are too many making it difficult for them to follow what is being taught.

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Kiguli was speaking to journalists just after Dr Eutychus Ngotho Gichuru, a researcher based at Makerere University School of Education and External Studies presented findings of a study in which he was among others assessing the accreditation processes and quality assurance of health training in Uganda. 

He says he found that even courses already accredited by the council do not tick all the boxes for accountability and quality which he worried will impact how much Uganda can benefit from medical tourism.

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The doctor also assessed the confidence of the public in the health professionals and health facilities in the country and found very low trust even as there is evidence of quality when it comes to the academic arm or written content. 

He says that regulators need to intensify the review of content being taught in medical and nursing schools  to incorporate any innovations that keep coming up. 

Currently, for medicine for instance, the Council is supposed to conduct reviews every five years but in an earlier meeting attended by URN, officials had revealed that institutions never show up for review and some had gone for ten years without conducting these vital checks.

Gichuru recommends that review should be taken more seriously with the current innovations in health with a lot of changes coming in very fast.   

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Earlier however, during one of the events held to celebrate 100 years of Makerere University, Prof. Joel Okullo, the Chairman of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council had declared that the current medical curriculum is out of touch with the current needs of the country.  

Okullo revealed that he was part of the delegation that President Museveni sent to Cuba more than seven years ago in a botched program to import doctors. He added that when they returned, they made recommendations that the country should focus on curative health promotion and preventive medicine and tune their health workers to match that. 

But, he added that none of their recommendations was adopted and there is no regular review of the curriculum to update training to match the country’s current needs. Instead, he notes, the country is trying to find ways of exporting doctors, something that doesn’t solve Uganda’s health problems.      

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