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Senior medics call for return of medical students for training

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Added 22nd September 2020 05:23 PM

The medical school’s preparedness was boosted by donations of vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from MTN Uganda and Cairo Bank.

Senior medics call for return of medical students for training

Prof Damalie Nakanjako

The medical school’s preparedness was boosted by donations of vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from MTN Uganda and Cairo Bank.

Medics at Makerere University's School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences have called for the return of medical students to hospitals.

The call comes ahead of the planned resumption of clinical training on October 3. Dr Juliet Otiti Sengeri, the head of the Department of Ophthalmology and a member of the School of Medicine COVID-19 taskforce, said it is important for medical students to return to hospitals because of the increased pressure on health systems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Other diseases and health complications continue to occur and there is a need for all health workers," Otiti said. She said medical students are health workers, who should be skilled on how to deal with the pandemic. Otiti noted that in countries, such as the US, universities offered fourth-year medical students the option of graduating early, to immediately join the health care workforce on temporary contracts to fight COVID-19.

Medical students at Makerere University's School of Medicine in the College of Health Sciences, are set to resume clinical training on October 3. This comes six months after the closure of academic institutions due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a statement issued by the academic registrar, Alfred Masikye-Nomoah, the schedule for the remaining semester will cover eight weeks (two months). Five weeks will be for clinical training and three will be for examinations.

"Note that you must strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures put in place by the health ministry to combat the spread of COVID-19," the statement, dated September 17, reads.

President Yoweri Museveni, recently instructed the COVID-19 taskforce to review the possibility of a phased reopening of schools, starting with candidate classes and clinical medical students.

This was in response to the outcry of medical trainers that keeping medical students out of training would deprive the community of the much needed medical services if they do not complete training and start on job training during the internship.

MEDICAL SCHOOL-READY

Speaking to New Vision, the dean of the School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Makerere University, Prof. Damalie Nakanjako, said they are ready to receive students and that they have put in place the required Standard Operating Procedures, as recommended by the health ministry.

At least 216 final-year medical students are returning to complete their bachelors' degree in medicine and surgery, together with other clinician finalists: 23 in medical radiography, 20 in speech and language therapy, 21 in nursing, 60 in pharmacy, 25 in dentistry and four in optometry.

Nakanjako also expressed appreciation to organisations that have supported the medical school with Personal Protective Equipment to enable the school to operate within the COVID-19 preventive measures.

The medical school's preparedness was boosted by donations of vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from MTN Uganda and Cairo Bank.

Dr Patrick Ssekimpi, the chairperson of the school of medicine COVID-19 taskforce, said the students' protection will be a priority. 

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