21 medical students inducted

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By Awa Macalo

The University of The Gambia Monday inducted newly qualified medical practitioners who recently completed eight years training at the University’s School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (SMAHS).

It marked the 13th edition of the induction ceremony, which was attended by various dignitaries and presented a solemn but cheerful event for the graduating medical doctors. 

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Addressing the new practitioners shortly after they took the Physicians oath, Professor Ousman Nyan, the Chief Medical Director of the EFSTH, applauded the graduates for their successful achievements.

He said this would not have been possible without the indulgence of the staff and cooperation of the students.

“Making this address is to underscore the fact that every profession has a lifelong development in it and in particular what the ancient Greek called the noble professions, Medicine was counted as one of those, and to understand that human suffering, human disease and the issue of health are major responsibilities entrusted into your hands. Therefore, you need to be in your best situation to deliver,” he said.

The chairman of the Gambia Medical and Dental Council (GMDC), Dr Melville O George, said as the number of qualified doctors increase, his Council urged government to ensure that resources are equitably deployed across the country, taking into consideration the doctor population ratio, regional and district statistics to enable the achievement of universal health care in the country. Other factors include supplies, chain management, mentorship and attractive living conditions for the doctors.

“Council wants to encourage the ministry of health to consider a plan submitted a few years ago, that will ensure that doctors who might not be interested to pursue the resident program in becoming specialist, are given the opportunity to undergo continuous training to become good medical officers that can man the district and general hospitals,” he added.

Acting provost of UTG School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Professor Ramou Njie, said the quality of any country’s health system is directly related to the quality of medical education that it delivers both undergraduate and postgraduate level.  However, she said one of the looming threats of the SMAHS is that of space constraint, the demand for places in the medical school and the school of nursing continues to rise.

“The country absolutely needs more doctors, nurses and allied health personnel to deliver effective and equitable healthcare to the Gambian population. The planned dental program, nurse specialist training program and others all require additional space which even with the new building in Banjul will be a challenge for us to deliver,” she said.

She called on stakeholders to join hands and set up a task force to work on setting up of a health science campus in conjunction with the teaching hospital.

Acting vice chancellor of UTG, Professor Pierre Gomez, said the graduates showed remarkable resolve despite the mental and emotional toll this pandemic brought about on the UTG.

“As usual, these are another crop of highly trained young men and women comprising 6 females and 15 males. Hopefully, they will stay and work to support health care delivery in the Gambia during these trying and difficult times, and I sincerely hope that they will all promise to work in the Gambia at least for some years. This batch of doctors brings to 245 number of doctors so far produced from the University of The Gambia since the first batch graduated in 2006,” Mr Gomez noted.

Health minister, Dr Ahmadou Samateh, advised the graduates to be tolerant, humble, compassionate, respectful, caring and understanding and have  patience.

“…Because you do not become doctors to help people who can afford it; you got into this to help all people based on need. And you deserve a support system that lets you do that regardless of our national circumstances. We will continue to provide you that support at the ministry level. the former chief medical director of the EFSTH told the gathering.

He also urged them to practice with caution and be conscious of their limitations.

He advised them to maintain their sanity and dignity, saying “no emotional, political or financial issues should make you abandon your patience, and by the oath that you are sworn to, it is so comprehensive that when you follow each word of it, you will excel in your career.”