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Medical school lacks staff

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th November 2005 03:00 AM

MAKERERE University medical students could soon find themselves without lecturers if the shortage of staff is not addressed immediately.

MAKERERE University medical students could soon find themselves without lecturers if the shortage of staff is not addressed immediately.

By Fred Ouma

MAKERERE University medical students could soon find themselves without lecturers if the shortage of staff is not addressed immediately.

Faculty of Medicine dean Prof. Nelson Sewankambo told the first annual scientific conference on the role of research in advancing health, that while the medical school intake was on the rise, the school had a huge deficit of teaching staff.

“It is worrying that 28 “underfed” people are doing the work of 100 people as 72% of teaching positions at the school are vacant,” Sewankambo said, stunning an audience of over 500, who included medical students, local and international doctors.

“This is a huge deficit that must be addressed if the medical school and Makerere University is to do a good job,” he added.

The revelation comes at a time when the number of doctors taking up academic teaching and research posts is at an all time low mainly due to perennial budget constraints coupled with the rigid recruitment procedure put in place by the University Council.

According to the university staff recruitment guidelines, a doctor with a masters degree cannot teach at the surgery department.

Sewankambo also attributed the crisis to general lack of interest by students to pursue a career in academic medicine.

“As the world changes, our interests change. Young people now prefer “smart” courses like law and mass communication to academic careers,” he said.

“It is poignant that so few students see academic careers as a realistic or appealing option,” he said.

Sewankambo also launched a journal: Africa Health Sciences, published by the school. It is to publish research done at the school and beyond but of great importance to the local problems.

“I hope the journal will galvanise scientists here to even greater action to publish their research findings,” he said.

“There is no point in doing research that you will not publish. You must share the knowledge so it’s turned into actions by others to solve problems,” he added.

State minister for general duties Prof. Mondo Kagonyera said the shortfall directly affected standards.

He advised the administration to make the Government aware of the problem.

Medical school lacks staff

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