WINDHOEK – The first cohort of Namibian-trained medical doctors, who graduated in 2016, have completed their two-year internship and are now practising as fully-fledged doctors across the country.
The doctors, trained at the University of Namibia (Unam), successfully completed their two-year internship at the end of last year.
Dr Lucky Murangi and Dr Simon Antindi, of the first group of 35 doctors to be trained in Namibia, yesterday told New Era some doctors are in Okongo, Keetmanshoop, Oshakati, Katutura and Windhoek Central hospitals, as well as at Engela, Onandjokwe, Omuthiya and the private sector.
“We are all over the country,” said Murangi who is deployed at Onandjokwe hospital.
The Unam School of Medicine under the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2016 graduated its first 35 Namibian-trained medical doctors with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB).
Thereafter, there were 55 in 2017 and 76 at the 2018 graduation ceremony. This puts the number of locally trained doctors at 166.
Following graduation, MBChB graduates are required to proceed into a supervised internship programme for at least 24 months at a Health Professions Councils of Namibia (HPCN) accredited hospital.
“Only after passing the internship programme evaluation by the HPCN will they be allowed to practise under no supervision as a medical doctor,” explained the Unam public relations officer, Simon Namesho.
During their internship the Unam-trained medical doctors relieve pressure on other medical personnel, said Namesho.
“With more medical doctors graduating from Unam, eventually many may well consider specialising in areas of medicine such anaesthesia, gynaecology, neurology, obstetrics, paediatric psychiatry, pathology, and this will have a further positive impact on the larger healthcare provision in Namibia,” said Namesho.
When doctors have completed their 24 months’ internship programme their deployment in the public sector thereafter is facilitated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, said Namesho.
“Given the School of Medicine intake approach of representation from all 14 regions of Namibia, it in that way advocates that the same qualified medical doctors go back into those pockets of societies to provide where the need is considered most,” explained Namesho.
Factors such as availability of vacancies at a given time could influence where the locally trained doctors might work, he added.
On May 11, the first group of fully-fledged Unam-trained doctors carried out an outreach service at Okahao district hospital, the Indira Gandhi Health Centre and at Etilyasha clinic. This, according to Namesho, is another way of the locally trained doctors giving back to society. “Thus, subject to employment opportunities, some of the qualified doctors can also be found in the private sector, abroad or pursuing postgraduate education in specialised fields of medicine,” said Namesho.
The foreign doctors who are trained in Namibia get to do their internship and practise in their home countries, Namesho added.