Technical committee to look into School of Medicine issues

01 Feb 2014 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 01 FEB (NAMPA) - Government has established a senior management level technical committee which has been tasked with comprehensively addressing the challenges faced by the University of Namibia (Unam)’s School of Medicine.
The technical committee comprises representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) led by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS) Andrew Ndishishi; representatives of the Ministry of Education (MoE) led by its PS Alfred Ilukena and representatives of Unam, led by Unam’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research, Professor Osmund Mwandemele.
The technical committee was established after media reports that some members of the public, medical specialists and practitioners, and students of the School of Medicine raised concern about a number of issues pertaining to the medical education and training programme of the School of Medicine.
Addressing the media at a joint media conference in the capital on Friday, Ilukena explained that the technical committee will consult and interview as many stakeholders as possible.
The stakeholders will, amongst others, include the Health Professions Councils of Namibia (HPCNA); Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA); National Council for Higher Education (NCHE); MOHSS officials and those at training facilities; Unam officials including the Chairman of the Unam Council; medical specialists and practitioners.
The joint technical committee has been given three weeks to complete its task and compile a comprehensive report with very clear recommendations to be submitted to the Government for advice and action.
Once Government has adopted and approved the report, the committee will revert back to the public, informing them about the recommendations of the report and the implementation strategy.
“The government of the Republic of Namibia has heard and listened to the concerns raised,” he said, noting that the School of Medicine is an important Government project which is there to produce well-trained and qualified medical practitioners. Ilukena acknowledged that there may be some teething difficulties for a new institution like the School of Medicine at Unam, and the Government takes the concerns seriously.
Meanwhile, it was reported in a local daily newspaper recently that several local State hospitals and private institutions are allegedly refusing to take in interns from Unam's Medical School citing poor quality training.
It reported that nearly 20 medical experts have written to Ndishishi, expressing concern over various issues and setting down conditions which should be met before they start working with students from the medical school.
The specialists indicated that they are not impressed with some of the students' performances, especially the third-year students.