Full international accreditation for the next four years has been granted to the University of Guyana [UG’]s School of Medicine. This development, which became official last week, was confirmed yesterday by Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith.
Professor Griffith said that although full accreditation has been granted, it is however with some conditions. He said too, that the University will shortly issue a statement on the newest accreditation development.
Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Emanuel Cummings, directed this publication to the Vice Chancellor. “He is the fittest person to comment on this.”
Regaining the accreditation was something that the University’s Vice Chancellor had identified as a top priority.
This publication understands that the accreditation body, the Jamaica-based Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education, Medicine and other Health Professions [CAAM-HP], granted accreditation to UG because of the tireless efforts that were engaged to put recommended measures in place.
The body, it was revealed, in making its reaccreditation decision had in fact given keen recognition to the outstanding leadership of the University’s Vice Chancellor in the quest to put certain measures in place.
Also taken into consideration were the efforts of key officers, including the Director of the School of Medicine and the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, in this regard.
But it wasn’t only the “highly motivated and committed faculty” that contributed to the CAAM-HP decision but also the “enthusiastic, motivated and high quality students.”
Added to this, CAAM-HP’s decision took into consideration the work undertaken by the curriculum team to develop a new 2017 curriculum which this publication understands is likely to be up for revision in 2021.
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 translated to the School of Medicine working towards achieving some 140-plus standards established by CAAM-HP.
The standards are divided into several areas including infrastructure, educational resources, faculty and the curriculum itself, and several others.
In essence, the accreditation body, this publication was informed, was able to address a gamut of concerns raised by CAAM-HP in its report of 2013.
Based on information out of CAAM-HP, accreditation for the UG medical programme was revoked because there were no progress reports forthcoming from the tertiary institution for the years 2014 and 2015.
But the university was not in a position to submit these reports, since a number of measures had to first be put in place. Several of these related to infrastructure, educational resources, faculty and the curriculum itself, among others.
One of the concerns of CAAM-HP that had led to the withdrawal of international accreditation in 2015 was the fact that there was no standing Memorandum of Understanding between the University, the GPHC and the Ministry of Public Health, making these clinical practice sessions formal.
Moreover, among the measures that the University had to address, leading up to the CAAM-HP assessment process, were the introduction of plans for a new Health Sciences Faculty, improved clinical and lecture facilities and other amenities for medical students.
The accreditation body had also focused on the university’s staff development programme to which the majority of staff had engaged over the last few years.
It was observed by CAAM-HP that that programme had in fact produced a positive change and a move toward using more active learning methods which have been built into the new curriculum.
There were also measures that were put in place by the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC,] which is tasked with aiding the clinical aspect of the UG medical programme. These were reportedly also commended by CAAM-HP which recognised that efforts in this regard has allowed for the availability of a wide range of the clinical material to the students, and that the early patient contact which makes the students learning more relevant.
However, it is expected that other measures, including the upgrading of facilities and the addition of new infrastructure, will be among the factors that will help to ensure that the accreditation status is sustained.
The accreditation path was paved following a CAAM-HP site visit in November of last year. During the site visit both the Turkeyen Campus and the GPHC were under scrutiny.
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