The tiny West African nation of The Gambia now boasts of a total of 130 medical doctors that were locally trained at its only public university (the University of The Gambia), raising hope that these vital human resources would inject a new synergy to accelerating the nation’s healthcare delivery.
Officials, speaking Thursday at the swearing in ceremony of 24 newly qualified medical doctors in Banjul, described this accomplishment as a “monumental success” for a university that started operations 15 years ago.
The School of Medicines and Allied Health Sciences is the first faculty of the University of The Gambia when the nation’s citadel of learning was instituted in 1999 with the help of doctors, provided by the Cuban government. Having graduated its first ever batch of home trained medical doctors in 2006, it subsequently graduated six more in 15 years.
Thursday’s ceremonies in Banjul, attended by parents, friends, relatives, state ministers and members of the medical fraternity, marked the beginning of the career of the young doctors. As a result, they took an oath, administered by the provost of the School of Medicines and Allied Health Sciences, Dr. Ousman Niane.
The young doctors wowed, among other things; to practice the profession with utmost dignity and professionalism; keep the secret of patients; maintain the honour and tradition of the medical profession; prioritise patients’ needs; maintain the utmost respect and value for human life; and not to use the profession to violate the human rights of others, amongst others.
“The medical programme of the University of The Gambia prides itself of providing the best academic courses to its students. It has produced a total of 130 homegrown medical doctors. In 2006, we graduated 11; 12 in 2007; 17 in 2009; 21 in 2010; 14 in 2011; 20 in 2013/14 and 24 in 2015. This is phenomenal for a university that is just 15 years old. We are satisfied with the skills and competencies of our graduate medical students,” the vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia said at the occasion.
For the chief medical director of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, Dr. Al Jafari, graduation from the university is an important achievement in any student’s life. He urged the young doctors to be worthy of their profession wherever they go, reminding them that their country needs their knowledge for its development. The Health and Social Welfare minister, Omar Sey, speaking on behalf of the government, said the current regime prioritises the health sector, describing the training of 130 doctors as in line with its objective of bringing healthcare delivery closer to the doorsteps of Gambians.