Plans are underway to establish a medical school at Busitema University next academic year. Prof. Mary Okwakol, the university vice chancellor, said if the institution gets funds, they will start with Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

At least 40 students will pioneer the Bachelor of Medicine course while 60 will join nursing. However, Prof. Okwakol added that they need funds for them to implement the programmes.

“We need Shs7.5 billion to start with. We have identified potential professors and lecturers and once the funds are availed, we shall go through the process of recruitment,” she said in a recent interview.
Prof. Paul Waako, who is supporting the process to institute the faculty of medicine, said they are not worried about the teaching staff because Mbale Hospital has already trained 25 consultants and specialists in different areas who are willing to work with the university.

Busitema University will be the fifth university out of 29 to train medical personnel in the country.
Other universities providing medical training are Makerere, Mbarara, Gulu and Kampala International.

However, there is hope after the US ambassador to Uganda, Mr Jerry Lanier, said through the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief and the US Department of Health and Human services, Shs3.6 billion will be invested over five years to transform African medical education and increase the number of healthcare workers.

He was speaking at the launch of Medical Education Partnership Initiative, a scheme between universities aimed at improving competencies of medical graduates, on Friday.

“We all recognise the pressing health issues facing Uganda and the specific challenge of Aids prevention, care and treatment. We also recognise the huge gap in the health workforce needed to address these issues,” Mr Lanier said.

Africa has 24 per cent of the global disease burden but with three per cent of the world’s health workforce and less than one per cent of the world’s financial resources for health.