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Friday, December 4, 2020

STATEMENT BY PROFESSOR MUHAMMADOU MO KAH, VICE CHANCELLOR, THE UNIVERSITY OF THE GAMBIA UTG MEDICAL STUDENTS’ SWEARING CEREMONY February 5, 2015 Part I

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Distinguish Ladies and gentlemen and to be shortly Medical Doctors, this swearing in ceremony presents a solemn yet joyous occasion for our graduating medical doctors to swear their professional oath and, thus, become properly inducted into the medical profession as qualified medical doctors by The Gambia Medical and Dental Council. 

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I wish to join previous speakers in extending a hearty welcome to all attendees of this afternoon’s function, especially, the Registrar and members of The Gambia Medical and Dental Council, for their invaluable and continuing support and contribution to the development and growth of our young but growing and strong SMAHS. We have always been happy and ready to incorporate all suggestions and recommendations and make good the various queries raised during your periodic institutional visits. Your continuing role in ensuring quality medical and allied health science education and professional and ethical practice in the UTG and the country, anchored in best practice, regional and global standards are of great significance and importance.

On behalf of our Chancellor and Founder and the entire UTG community, I convey our congratulations and appreciation for the over due recognition that will be bestowed upon Dr Ebrahim Samba during this ceremony- a household name in The Gambia and beyond – for his extraordinary service to humanity through the Medical Profession. We are Proud of you Sir! And thank you for the many UTG students and others you privately and quietly sponsor to achieve their dreams and potential! 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may be aware, the world over, it has always been a tradition that, even though all other graduates are deemed to have fully completed their programs of study after their graduation ceremonies, students of the medical profession have had to be specially sworn in as doctors by swearing what is popularly known as the “Hippocratic Oath”, primarily on account of the sensitive nature of their profession. It is as important now as it has ever been for our Doctors to have an agreed statement of ethical principles. It is imperative after the completion of their program of study, for Doctors to make a public commitment to the professional responsibilities they are assuming. These principles should provide guidance in the increasingly difficult, ethical, life and death decisions they will make throughout their professional lives. It is, therefore, important for all of you newly qualified Doctors soon to be inducted to go through this ceremony to appreciate what society expects from you as well as have a full appreciation of all the ethical and moral dimensions of your professional practice.

In this respect, majority of whom are found contributing their much needed services to the I am humbled and proud to announce that this morning’s ceremony will see to the ushering of 24 Medical Doctors into the Medical Profession and I am equally happy to announce that, this figure is higher than last year’s figure by 4 graduates. The graduating class of 2014 is made up of 17 Male doctors and 7 Female doctors. Thus far the School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences has trained a total of 130 doctors, nation’s health care infrastructure and needs across the length and breadth of this country.

The School of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences has continued to implement programs for training health professionals for the country. The output for the undergraduate medical training course is summarized in the table below: the first intake for this course was in 1999.

The program prides itself in having the highest proportion of females graduating in any UTG degree program, with the 2013 graduating class making the epic record of having a female majority graduating. Of course all the students faced similar admission and assessment standards!

 

Exactly about one year ago, we were gathered here to witness a similar occasion. I feel honored to be once again associated with the achievements of our Chancellor, His Excellency, The President Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh for establishing the University of The Gambia and more importantly, The School of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences, which was the first Faculty or School at UTG. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his continued commitment and dedication to The University of The Gambia and her Medical School. 

 

The Medical program at the UTG prides herself in it’s rigor, quality education, highly competent academic and professional staff, world renown external examiners drawn from a pool of the best in their domains in medicine and related fields, from within the country, region and globally who are affiliated with highly reputable universities and institutions of the highest repute in Medical education. 

 

Further, since 2009, our admission standards are of the highest and most rigorous in the University of The Gambia and compare with what prevails in the best universities of the world. The continuing pool of qualified applicants at each admission cycle, amounting to more than a thousand students with almost perfect scores-mostly the best in their graduating high school class and national/regional exams from the country, the region and international applicants. Thus, only the best of the best- crème de la crème are admitted to the UTG medical schools and only the best amongst the best make it to the finishing line. We must convey our sincere thanks and appreciation to our in fatigable Admissions Director, Ms. Aminatta Njie, and her staff, for continuing to uphold the highest and rigorous admission standards and screening process for the University and the Medical School. Equally, I would like to commend the Medical School’s dedicated faculty and staff, who further screen the applicants in their admission committee and have had to find ingenious ways of delivering the Medical Program in its entirety.  I am happy to report, these brilliant students who are amongst the best of the best and worked tirelessly to earn a Medical Degree, are 24 this year and are sitting right in front of us, all of them ready and fired up to take their oath into the profession for the practice of medicine in service to humanity! Congratulations! The UTG and her Chancellor are indeed proud of your accomplishments!

 

Graduating Class of 2014

As shared with your colleagues last year, in 1999, many were skeptical about His Excellency’s (our Chancellor’s) resolve to establish The University of The Gambia with the School of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences as her first Faculty or School. The main argument launched against this bold move by His Excellency was that we were too small a country without the requisite resources to staff, equip and run a Medical School. 

 

Yet, the audacity of hope and a bold and daring vision has culminated in our convergence once again for the swearing in ceremony of the Class of 2014 with 24 graduates providing ample evidence that the skeptics were indeed wrong and will continue to be wrong and in the wrong side of history and will continue to be surprised with the good and blessings this country and her peoples will continue to enjoy under the leadership of our Chancellor and President, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh.  

 

Ladies and Gentlemen and graduates to be, in few minutes, you are indeed a unique class!  You are taking your oath to practice medicine in service to humanity, at a significant and historical timeline for this nation. In few weeks, this country will be celebrating her 50th Independence anniversary. As significant as this day will be for us all, as we all find ourselves in a reflective mood, it is important to remind ourselves about the achievements and accomplishments registered during these 50 years of independence and perhaps 50 years before independence? 

 

I do not know about you all, but for me, as I reflect along this continuum or time period, no medical doctors were administered to take an oath in this country or students graduated from a university in this country 50 years before independence and 30 years after independence! The only medical doctors that are administered to take an oath in this country was almost 40 years after independence! And, a University- The University of the Gambia founded almost 34 years later!  

 

Let us check the records again, in 2006, we graduated 11; in 2007, we graduated 12; in 2009, 17; in 2010, 21; in 2011, 14; in 2012, in 2013, 20; and today (2014) we are swearing in 24! This gives a total of 130 medical doctors we have graduated in the last 8 years or so!! Out of these 130 medical doctors, 80 are male, 50 are female and 19 foreign nationalities are amongst them. This achievement is indeed phenomenal taking into consideration The University of The Gambia is barely 16 years old. The majority of our graduates are contributing their services to the nation’s health care infrastructure and needs across the length and breadth of this country. These tangible and indisputable outcomes and accomplishments were registered in 10 years under the 20 years of the Second Republic post independence, which is under the leadership of our Chancellor and Founder, HE, the President, Sheikh Professor, Dr, Yahya AJJ Jammeh!  No Medical doctors were trained in 50 years before independence and 40 years after independence but a handful of graduates returning back home after studies abroad and few staying!  Now in 10 years, over 130 trained at home and at the UTG, over 90 percent staying and serving across the country! Not bad at all, ladies and gentlemen! Congratulations to our Medical School Faculty and students!

 

Further, Law students continue to be graduated from this University and just few weeks ago most of her graduates displayed brilliant performance and were administered to the Gambian Bar to practice Law and serve our society in many respects!  The UTG continues to graduate 1000’s of students in a diversity of disciplines serving across public and private institutions across this country and beyond! These graduates are increasingly taking leadership positions across institutions in this country and beyond, pursuing post-graduate education in the world’s finest universities, some of these graduates have received their PhD degrees from top universities and some currently are members of university faculties as academics across the world! 

 

Then, I can unapologetically say, the most significant achievement registered in these 50 years of independence is the founding and continuing performance of this great university- The University of the Gambia! It is indeed, this university, which continues to give us our sovereignty, our humanity and our true independence and our greatest hope for our country and her peoples!  Thank you, your Excellency and our Chancellor for founding and continuing to support this great University- The University of The Gambia!             

 

(To be continued)

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