Unam admits fewer medical trainees

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-Due to the lack of accredited training facilities the University of Namibia (Unam) has this year admitted less than 50 percent of students who applied for studies in medicine and pharmacy.
Part of the problem is the classroom ratio capacity and clinical training, and a limited number of accredited teaching hospitals in the country.

Hospitals are accredited for clinical training by the Health Professions Council of Namibia and efforts are underway to have more hospitals accredited nationwide.
One criterion is that hospitals should have sufficient specialists to assist students with medical internship training.

This would ensure there is no compromise on the quality of graduates, said the public relations officer at Unam, Simon Namesho.

“This level of wastage is far too high to accept. Namibia cannot afford this,” said the pro-vice chancellor for academic affairs, Professor Frednard Gideon.

Gideon spoke on behalf of Professor Lazarus Hangula, the outgoing Unam vice-chancellor, at the white coat ceremony for first year students at the Health Sciences campus.

A positive note, however, is that programmes at the Health Sciences campus have grown tenfold since 2010 when construction commenced at the site.

The campus, which was previously known as the School of Medicine, started with 52 students. Today, there are 600 students in the three schools hosted at the campus.

Also, significant breakthroughs have been made to involve private hospitals in the business of producing more doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals, said Gideon.

Gideon said the business community and the general public should work with the university to plug resource gaps. Parents were urged to take advantage by reaching out to industry in the area of student accommodation.
“You do not have to be a big corporation to benefit. On this campus alone we need to house an additional 600-800 students. The number will grow as we introduce more postgraduate programmes,” said Gideon. This, he said, is only one avenue of contributing to the expansion of the space for young people.

“There are huge opportunities opened by the public-private partnership act and policy. Parents, you are not excluded from these investment opportunities,” said Gideon.

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