Dr Edward Kanyesigye is the dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Uganda Christian University, Mukono. He shares insights, progress and updates about the medical school project
What drove UCU into starting a medical school?
We were driven by essentially three things; first, the need to have more science programmes as per the UCU Strategic plan and then the hosting of a medical school elevates the profile of any university. Thirdly, UCU has a great opportunity to be in the same family with Mengo Hospital, which has already distinguished itself as a centre of excellence for quality holistic care, treatment and research and is therefore, a suitable partner.
What new thing will UCU medical school offer that other institutions do not?
UCU is already known for its education programmes which are designed to develop a cadre of professionals with integrity, power of critical inquiry, logical thought and independent judgment, with a Christian perspective. We are known for producing graduates with strong ethical and value qualities. Nowhere will this be as handy as in the medical profession. UCU will not only contribute to filling the human resource needs in the health sector, but it will bring on board conscientious and ethically-minded doctors in Uganda’s practice.
The will be located far from UCU. Won’t that affect learning?
The Medical School will be hosted by Mengo Hospital, which is the university teaching hospital. The students will be hosted in the compound of Mengo. The seat of the Faculty of Health Sciences will be in the former premises of the Church of Uganda Planning, Development and Rehabilitation department recently vacated by the ICRU.
How ready are you to start the medical school since the time you signed the MOU in December 2016?
We are putting final touches on the renovation of facilities to serve as classrooms, offices and labs for the medical school and then we will call in the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) to inspect them. The curriculum has already been approved by the NCHE.
Why should someone make UCU their university of choice for medicine?
UCU is a popular university in many aspects. Our graduates are on high demand in the world of work because of a proven track record of honour, goodness and professionalism, that is synonymous with the UCU brand. Judging by the number of people who have come to inquire about a possibility of admission to our medical school, we can see that the demand will be very high.
What courses will be on offer?
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).
When will admission open and what are the requirements?
The requirements are physics, chemistry and biology on competitive basis. All applicants will have to sit admission interviews. Admissions will start as soon as the NCHE accredits the programmes. Our target is to begin in May (Trinity) semester but should the NCHE take long, we will begin in the September (Advent) semester. We are, however, hopeful that NCHE will accredit our programmes in time for the May 2017 intake.
Any final remarks?
The UCU Medical School project should transform into reality this year. We still need a lot of resources: men, money and material. We will value your prayers. My thanks go to the Vice-Chancellor, the Rev. Can. Dr. John Senyonyi for his great support and to Dr. Miriam Mutabazi Gesa, the coordinator of the medical school project.