Medical students at the University of The Gambia have outlined problems they are facing which are causing delays in the completion of their courses. In a press release issued yesterday they focused on the delays in the departure and arrival of Cuban lecturers which has resulted in the course taking eight years to complete instead of seven. They say despite all their efforts, the problem still persists. Below is the full text of the release:

It is without doubt that medical students will make up the core of our country’s health system in the near future. Therefore, prioritizing medical education is empirical in improving the health of the people of our beloved nation, The Gambia. Any factor which interferes with effective medical education is leaving the future of our country to chance.

For years we have been faced with a number of problems as medical students, the most distressing being delays. This hindered effective medical education and is accumulating with increasing intensity and led to a build-up of frustration. For over three years, whenever it comes to the holidays of our Cuban lecturers, they would either not leave on time for their holidays or leave and not come back on time. The consequence of which is the time in which they are away added to our 7-year program. For instance, the batch that just graduated spent over 8 years in medical school. If this problem isn’t solved now, there is a high chance that this might reoccur. Last year, the Cubans stayed away for about 8 months which led to a peaking of our frustration. As a result, we formed an ad hoc committee to consult with the necessary stakeholders and come up with an amicable solution.

Several attempts were made to contact all the authorities involved but some of the calls remained unanswered. A persistence of the problems led to a press conference in February this year which resulted in a meeting with the University authorities, relevant ministries and other stakeholders. The meeting was convened and orchestrated by the University of The Gambia

Students Union (UTGSU) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MQHERST). The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), the body primarily responsible for the going and coming of the lecturers were present at that meeting. Several promises and propositions were made so as to prevent the problem from recurring.

Over the past months, a series of follow ups were made, both formal and informal, to ensure that the relevant authorities see to it that the problem is prevented. However, to our dismay, it would seem things are not going as planned and history is repeating itself. Presently, three dates for the departure of the Cuban lecturers were given and none proved to be fruitful. To show our utmost dissatisfaction, we staged a peaceful protest marching from the arch to the quadrangle on Thursday 13th December 2018. As medical students of the University of The Gambia, we have only one demand.

“LET OUR CUBAN LECTURERS GO FOR THEIR HOLIDAYS AND COME BACK ON TIME.”

Foroyaa will get in touch with the authorities to get their comments on the matter.

Join The Conversation