NUST granted Medical School Status

THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Faculty of Medical has been granted Medical School status after meeting international standards, a development that will see it increasing enrolment of medical students thereby contributing immensely to the training of doctors.

Nust introduced the Faculty of Medicine in 2005 but was limited to enrolling 25 medical students per year. Since 2005, the university has been under assessment over its capacity to produce quality doctors.

The university has met local and international requirements to start a medical school. In line with the new status, the Medical School will be able to enroll more students, starting next year. Nust Faculty of Medicine executive dean Professor Elopy Sibanda said this during a tour of the school by Iranian specialist’ doctors.

The Medical School is still housed at Mpilo Central Hospital although Ekusileni Medical Centre is set to be transformed into a Nust run specialist training institution. The Iranian doctors are in the country to establish areas of cooperation.

Prof Sibanda said the university is overwhelmed by demand for places from students who want to study medicine.

He said the students are high flyers who scored 15 points in science subjects for males at Advanced Level and 14 points for females. He said the university receives up to 600 applicants but was only recruiting 25 students. This is however going to change with the new status.

“Per year we have 25 students and we have 100 students in total. We were given that number because we were starting off so we were still being monitored. It’s only this year that we have been accredited as a Medical School and after accreditation we have been allowed to increase the intake to 60 students starting in January,” said Prof Sibanda.

He said increased enrolment figures will result in Zimbabwe reducing the doctor to patient ratio.

Prof Sibanda said Nust will still limit the number of doctors being trained in order to produce quality doctors.

“The level of demand is very high and the candidates are very highly qualified. Therefore, if we expand these services, we should be able to offer more. There is a World Health Organisation recommended ratio of patient to doctor and we can achieve that if we train more doctors. We want to train specialists as well so that as a country we provide specialist services,” he said.

Prof Sibanda said the visit by the Iranian specialist doctors was important considering the new thrust of the Nust Faculty of Medicine. Nust has been tasked to develop Ekusileni Medical Centre into a specialist training hospital post Covid-19 pandemic.

Prof Sibanda said Ekusileni Medical Centre remains a Covid-19 admission hospital and Nust will move in once the pandemic is over.

“ We want to benefit from the expertise of the Iranians and others through bringing in specialists into the country so that people do not seek specialist services in other countries. Our students are very bright and many qualify to train specialist doctors,” he said.

The delegation of Iranian doctors consists of a dermatologist, pediatrician, urologist, ophthalmologist, gynaecologist, otolaryngologist, pharmacist, orthopedic and a surgeon.

“We are pleased to host a delegation of 12 specialists from Iran. We were notified about their presence yesterday by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. We are quite happy to host them and learn from them as we share experiences. We want as a young university to work together with for example University of Tehran which is about 600 years old. They have a lot of experience and as such we will benefit a lot by working with them,” said Prof Sibanda.

Iranian surgeon Prof Mahdi Mesgarani Torghabeh said they were looking forward to working with the Nust Medical School, especially in specialist training of medical students.

“We can work to make it better in different specialties and we talked about this with our colleagues but the Ministry of Health and Child Care and our Embassy will give direction on the way forward,” said Prof Torghabeh.

He said the collaboration will benefit both Zimbabwe and Iran as both nations have experiences to share in the medical field.

Prof Torghabeh said they had requested Nust School of Medicine to present a paper on areas where they need help and they will take it from there. – @nqotshili

© Copyright 2023. National University of Science & Technology. All Rights Reserved