Health Sciences Training: Life-saving Reforms Well On Course

The putting in place of the National Commission for Medical and Pharmaceutical Training has been a milestone which has seen select medical institutes graduate competent entry-level professionals.

“A poorly-trained doctor is more dangerous than an armed soldier,” the President of the National Order of Doctors of Cameroon, Dr Guy Sandjon once said. It is definitely obvious as when healthcare providers are poorly trained, the best they can give their patients in poor care. Until 2013, there was a bevy of privately-owned higher institutes of learning offering training in health science fields, added to the state-owned medical faculties.

One would have thought the plethora of medical institutes was ideal, considering that Cameroon is yet to achieve the 1:1,000 doctor/patient ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation. However, back then, a critical look at the situation showed that the training institutes were more of glorified secondary schools.

Most of the schools did not meet basic global standards; lacking the requirements to ensure good quality training, amongst others. Most of them also lacked qualified lecturers and were not in synergy with renowned hospitals for practical by their trainees. The government of President Paul Biya was aware of the situation and took just the right measures to curb the rising tide when it was due.

The government moved to shut down all the training institutions wanting in professionalism. There was a complete overhaul for health science disciplines with special focus on curriculum and the Prime Minister, Head of Government put in place the National Commission for Medical and Pharmaceutical Training in Cameroon.

Today, only nine medical establishments are authorized by government to train personnel in medicine, pharmacy and odontostomatological studies. They include: the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the University of Yaounde I; Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Douala; Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Buea; Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Bamenda; Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Dschang; Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of Garoua, an establishment of the University of Ngaoundere; Higher Institute of Health Science of Université des Montagnes in Bangangte; Higher Institute of Medical Technologies of Nkolondom- Yaounde; and the School of Health of Medical Sciences of the Catholic University of Cameroon in Kumbo.

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