OSHAKATI – The University of Namibia (Unam) has announced that it will graduate its first Namibian educated medical doctors and pharmacists this year.
The disclosure was made by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Administration and Finance Dr Boniface Mutumba at the official opening of the Hifikepunye Pohamba campus yesterday. Mutumba, who spoke eagerly about the graduation of the doctors and pharmacists, revealed that the university is expanding its clinical instruction and training programmes beyond Windhoek to provide significant exposure to health problems, as well as space and resources for the enrollment of more students. The graduating students will spend the 2014 academic year rotating in the northern and central parts of the country.
“It is for this reason that our final year medical students will spend a whole year in the north, specifically at Oshakati Intermediate Hospital, Ongwediva Medipark, Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital and some Windhoek hospitals,” Mutumba said. According to him the use of the hospital facilities would not only benefit the students, but form part of the university’s role to improve the quality of and access to specialised health care services.
Moreover, the expansion of student training beyond Windhoek would add value through the hiring and embedding of the university’s professors in training hospitals that would host them to enable the university to provide specialised health care to local communities, he said. He also hoped the practice would eventually reduce the number of patients being sent to referral hospitals in Windhoek.
In the meantime, the university and its council are exploring mechanisms to establish a teaching hospital, which is the apex of health care provision in any country. The teaching hospital will be designated to provide advanced medical care, to conduct research and train managers for the country’s health sector. The teaching hospital will also enable the university to increase the number of trainee doctors and increase medical specialization in the country.
Additionally, the teaching hospital would enable Unam to venture into new frontiers of medical science and stem the outflow of money for treatment of patients outside the country’s borders and help to attract the best professors and physicians in the medical field, Mutumba said.
Besides the teaching hospital, the university has approved the implementation of a degree in veterinary medicine in collaboration with the agriculture ministry and the Veterinary Council of Namibia, plus a degree in military science.