KAMPALA- Uganda Christian University (UCU) has started training undergraduate medical doctors, bringing the number of similar institutions in the country to five.
The UCU School of Medicine which was launched on Friday followed the accreditation of the University’s medical programmes by the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) in March and the admission of pioneer Bachelor of Medicine, and Bachelor of Surgery and Dental Surgery students in August.
A total of 62 medical students have enrolled at the School to run in conjunction with Mengo Hospital which also doubles as the university’s teaching hospital. Seven of these are international students from Sudan, Kenya, Eritrea, Tanzania and Nigeria.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, warned the medical students against joining strikes as the case has been with those from other universities in the past. She also asked them to have a good attitude and work ethics towards their profession.
Attitude, work ethics
“The challenge we have with the new qualified medical doctors is their attitude, work ethics and behaviours. We have been having so many strikes. So, it’s my prayer that the students coming out of this school should not be part of this [strikes] we have been seeing but will come out to develop our country,” Dr Aceng said at the event held at the Archbishop’s Gardens in Namirembe, a Kampala suburb.
The minister was speaking in reference to the past rampant strikes that have been staged by medical interns usually caused by delayed internship allowances.
The coming of UCU into the profession, Dr Aceng, said is likely to increase the number of medical interns that government receives annually to more than 1700 from the current 1200.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda commended the university for always focusing on producing high quality students in other fields, saying there is no doubt it will produce medical doctors of the same standard.
“Uganda clearly needs more doctors but not just more doctors in terms of numbers. We need doctors who are properly trained, who have integrity and will consider the patient first instead of other considerations,” Mr Rugunda stated.
Dr John Senyonyi, the UCU Vice Chancellor, also urged the students to devote themselves to the Christian values and virtues that the university stands for.