By Anne Mugisa
The Government will open a new medical school at Busitema University this year. It also plans to set up another one in Soroti, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Minister of Health, has said.
The Busitema University Medical School will bring the number of government medical schools to four.
The other medical schools other than the initial one at Makerere University are at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Gulu University. A number of private universities have also started medical training programmes.
According to Rugunda, this is intended to increase the number of health workers so as to reduce the doctor-to-patient ratio.
He said the move is part of a comprehensive health-strengthening programme through improved service delivery. In Uganda the doctor-to-citizen ratio is 12 doctors for every 100,000 people.
According to Rugunda, the programme includes repair of existing health facilities, establishment of new ones and overall strengthening of service delivery.
Rugunda was yesterday opening the third annual symposium of medical professionals and policy makers from across Africa and the US. He represented the Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi.
The Medical Education Partnership Initiative symposium is taking place at the Kampala Serena Hotel under the theme; Innovations in Medical Education.
Some of the salient issues to be addressed include medical brain-drain, welfare of health workers, especially those working upcountry.
The symposium is sponsored by the US government.
According to the Chancellor of Busitema University, Prof. Francis Omaswa, the benefits of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative have been enormous. He said they include improved research as well as service delivery.
Omaswa said under the Medical Education Partnership Initiative, all medical schools in the country have come together and agreed on standards for training aimed at producing better medical personnel.
The Medical Education Partnership Initiative is a five-year collaborative programme intended to support the capacity and quality of medical education in Africa.
Launched in 2010, 13 African institutions in 12 countries are funded under the programme and, according the US Ambassador, Scott DeLisi, it will scale up pre-service education.
He said the initiative will also strengthen medical partnerships between the US and Sub-Saharan Africa.