…as certification body plans evaluation visit in November
Medical students who graduated from the University of Guyana (UG) last year may very well have degrees that are internationally accredited.
This disclosure was yesterday made by Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Emanuel Cummings.
It was believed that the medical degrees of the 46 students who graduated last year would not have been recognized outside of Guyana without them first sitting the Caribbean Association of Medical Councils (CAMC) examination. But Dr. Cummings, during an interview with this publication yesterday, revealed that although the School of Medicine lost its accreditation last year, it would have occurred after the programme would have been completed.
“We lost the accreditation last year July when they (students) were finished, so technically our students who graduated all five of their years were accredited. The problem, as we see it, is that the programme was not accredited at the point of graduation. Our students would have received content that were accredited. During the time they were taught, the programme was accredited,” Dr. Cummings explained.
The Dean revealed yesterday, too, that students who are slated to graduate this year will essentially complete a programme that is partially internationally accredited. This is in light of the fact that four years of the programme benefited from international accreditation.
“Four-fifths of this current programme was accredited and that is the argument that we are putting up now…only one-fifth is not accredited, but four-fifths of their (students’) time was very much spent doing an accredited programme,” Dr. Cummings stated.
His remarks were forthcoming even as he commented on the University’s ongoing journey to regain full accreditation. Already the University has submitted a self-study to the accreditation body – Jamaica-based Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP).
CAAM-HP is the legally constituted body established in 2003 under the aegis of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), empowered to determine and prescribe standards and to accredit programmes of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions on behalf of the contracting parties in CARICOM.
The acquisition of accreditation is therefore dependent on an institution’s adherence to certain stipulated standards. This translates to the School of Medicine’s meeting the 140-plus standards established by CAAM-HP.
The standards, according to Dr. Cummings, are divided into several areas including: infrastructure, educational resources, faculty and the curriculum itself, among several others.
Regaining the accreditation is something that Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, has identified as a top priority. And this has been very evident, Dr. Cummings noted, with the level of support that has been forthcoming from the University’s administration. He disclosed too that Government, the Ministry of Health, and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, which has to work in close collaboration with the School of Medicine, have all been very supportive.
“By submitting our self-study we have completed the documentation aspect, but there are certain things that we have put into the documentation which they will come to evaluate…things such as the physical facilities, which we are currently working on,” related Dr. Cummings.
Moreover, he is confident that the University is on track to having all necessary measures in place for re-accreditation. In fact, he disclosed that CAAM-HP will in November send at least five reviewers to assess the progress that has been made in the quest for reaccreditation.
“After they come they have one month within which to submit a report to CAAM-HP…after a decision is made it will be communicated to us,” Dr. Cummings noted.
The School of Medicine was first granted ‘Provisional Accreditation’ by CAAM-HP in 2008 for a one-year period. By 2009 a decision was taken by the body to afford the Bachelors of Medicine (MBBS) programme the elevated accreditation status of ‘Accredited with Conditions’, until 2012.
But by 2011, CAAM-HP expressed disappointment at the absence of a progress report from the local University and pointed out that a condition for the maintenance of accreditation was the submission of annual reports.
Following a site visit in 2013, the School of Medicine was granted ‘Provisional Accreditation’ until 2015.
The CAAM-HP had noted on its website that at its meeting held July 28, 2014, it “considered the progress report of the School of Medicine in response to its letter of October 12, 2013. The meeting noted that the Memorandum of Understanding between the University, the GPHC and the Ministry of Health had been drafted. However, the meeting was not satisfied with the apparent lack of progress in addressing most of the issues identified in the October 12, 2013 letter”.
CAAM-HP had urged the School of Medicine to prepare for a limited survey visit in early 2015 before a further determination of the school’s accreditation status could have been made.
Part of the requirement from CAAM-HP was the construction of facilities at the GPHC. But there was no progress in this regard, among other requisite areas, reported to CAAM-HP in the years 2014 and 2015, thus a decision was made to withdraw accreditation from the School of Medicine.
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