…in quest to regain int’l accreditation status
“It’s a lot of hard work,” said Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Emanuel Cummings, yesterday when asked about the progress being made to regain the international accreditation status of the University of Guyana (UG)’s School of Medicine.
The loss of accreditation has affected both the Medicine and Dentistry programme offered by the University. This means the degrees are not valid outside of Guyana without the holders of the degree first sitting and passing the Caribbean Association of Medical Councils’ examination.
Currently the University is undertaking a self-study as part of the requisite measures to regain accreditation as recommended by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). CAAM-HP is the regional accreditation body.
But according to Dr. Cummings, while the mandatory efforts are being made by the School of Medicine to retain the accreditation status, there is still need for other stakeholders to aid the process. Currently the focus is on a review of the School of Medicine’s curriculum which, according to Dr. Cummings, represents 60 per cent of the problem that resulted in the loss of the accreditation.
“I am doing all that I can as the Dean (and) the staff of the School of Medicine are working hard too, but the University belongs to the Government and the people of Guyana, so other key stakeholders have to do their part too,” said Dr. Cummings.
According to him, regaining the international accreditation status is more than merely completing the on- going self-study.
The self-study is being done even as students and members of the public are seeking answers as to when the process to regain accreditation will be completed. But the process is much more than merely a self-study, said Dr. Cummings.
There is also need for physical resources to be put in place. But according to the Dean, putting in place some of the physical resources is far beyond the financial capacity of the University. “We need all the stakeholders to understand that the Medical School is a national institution that needs a total national effort for it to regain its accreditation so that the nation can continue to benefit,” asserted Dr. Cummings.
Although he was able to point out that the majority of the work is currently on the curriculum of the programmes offered by the School of Medicine, he noted, the shortcomings include the facilities to support the medical programmes at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and at the School of Medicine.
“They have facilities that are not adequate to deliver the kind of curriculum that CAAM-HP wants…these have to be addressed and to do this we need the support,” Dr. Cummings insisted.
But according to him, “some people believe that accreditation is just like going and paint a house, where you go and buy 10 gallons of paint and then paint the house and then it is finished. But it is actually a lot more than that…it is an exercise that will take the minimum of 12 to 18 months to recover…it is a very long exercise,” the Dean insisted.
He pointed out that while the self-study could be completed and submitted to CAAM-HP by early next year, three months after, that the body is likely to visit the University to assess measures that have been implemented.
“If we submit (the completed self-study) in January or February and they come three months after that, that will put us in May when they will come to visit…after that they have one month to write their report and that could put us in June, then we have to wait for a meeting to be called, then at that meeting they will make a decision and that meeting could be in July or August,” Dr. Cummings said.
According to him, “the longer we take to put things in place, the longer it will take for us to get it.”
The accreditation process requires that the School of Medicine have in place 144 standards that are divided in seven areas. These include proper anatomy laboratory, certain amenities such as a students’ common room and library, state-of-the-art classrooms complete with multi-media equipment and even an improved building.
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