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Top Medics Protest Fencing Off Mulago Hospital From Medical School

Scientists attending a symposium at the Makerere University School of Medicine have protested the move by government to put up a wall fence separating the medical school from Mulago Specialized National Referral Hospital.


The scientists made it clear that this not only defeats the purpose of being a teaching hospital but erodes the long history between the two entities.


Referring to it as a Berlin wall, Prof. Nelson Sewankambo, a Medical Researcher and former dean of the medical school said previously whoever would be the director of the hospital would also be the dean of the college because of the close links the two had in shaping the kind of doctors that were being trained.

The symposium which was attended by senior consultants, regulators, deans and retired doctors and academicians including East Africa’s first female medical student Prof. Josephine Nambooze was held as part of the events  to mark a hundred years of Makerere University.


The 92-year-old Nambooze revealed that she got lost while trying to access the Davis Lecture theatre because of the immense changes she found at the facility where she studied, taught and treated patients for a very long time.


On his part, Prof. Joel Okullo, the Chairman of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council said the wall speaks of the invisible wall that has been eating up the two institutions with long quarrels between hospital and university staff over who is responsible for what.

With more universities now accredited to offer medical courses, experts said there is need to pay attention to the kind of training students get while still in early years of medical school until when they are deployed for internship.


Maria Nakato Ssemakula who heads the accreditation programme at the National Council for Higher Education expressed concern that they are seeing several medical schools submitting the same names of senior lecturers as one of their staff which creates questions on the quality of teaching happening with this wide moonlighting.


Currently, there are thirty-three sites accredited to offer internship training but Okullo says many don’t have enough staff to guarantee thorough supervision during this one-year period. For professions like graduate nurses, he says the situation is worse.


He notes that with Mulago now shutting themselves off limiting access by students still at the Makerere university medical school only makes things worse since already some teaching hospitals have not yet met all the requirements.


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