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Makerere opens top-notch Dental teaching laboratory after embarrassing closure

A Doctor examining a patient in an oral surgery and oral diagnosis section of the new facility. (PHOTO/Javira Ssebwami)

KAMPALA — Makerere University has relocated and installed top class equipment in its dental school— creating one of the best laboratories in the region following an embarrassing closure two months ago.

The rehabilitation of the facility into a top class followed an order by the regulator to close the admissions of students into university dental courses citing poor standards of the facility and failure by the management to recruit enough lecturers.

In a report dated July 3, the joint council ordered Makerere to close its dental department at the Mulago-based College of Health Sciences and recommended the University to redistribute the already admitted students for the September 2019 intake to other dental schools in the region over failure to meet the minimum requirements.

The university management at the time admitted that the school was in poor state but subsequently launched an emergency task force to facilitate the refurbishment of the school.

The University management also relocated the facility from Mulago to the main campus opposite Guild office.

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the University Vice Chancellor said the management responded to the warning by investing considerable resources in the Dental Surgery Programme.

“We allocated funds that enabled the transformation of Don Bosco Annex into a dental clinic with an increased capacity for 22 dental chairs,” Prof Barnabas Nawangwe said.

“We also allocated an extra 11 dental chairs to beef up the existing capacity, hence doubling the number of dental chairs”.

Speaking during a guided tour of the new facility, Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu, the Manager Communications and International Relations at Makerere said that the new generation of students demand modern ways of teaching.

“It is imperative that the Makerere meets these demands. Our aim has always been to make sure that the quality of education that we offer students is second to none”, he said.

Dr. Kiggundu emphasised that facilities such as the dental teaching laboratory are an indication of the importance that the University attach to quality education.

He said the laboratory will also be used to teach students how to perform restorative dentistry procedures before they are allowed to work on real life situations (mainly in their 4th and 5th years of study).

Makerere University has installed top class equipment in its dental school. (Javira Ssebwami)

Additionally, the new facility will enable students to also learn how to do endodontic treatment (root canal treatment) on extracted teeth, before they can perform it on live patients in their senior years.

“This new facility will enable us to train students with world class facilities – comparable with the best which are available in the world. The facilities were designed to duplicate the conditions which the students will experience in their clinical years. They will also use exactly the same type and quality of equipment.

Some of the top class equipment found in the clinical wards include dental drills, operating light.

“See, all those, it is clear that the Makerere Dental School now offers one of the most advanced dental training facilities on the African continent and akin to anything we have seen around the world.”

The regulator had also faulted Makerere’s dental school of failure to recruit enough staff in the fulfilment of the required 1:4 staff-student ratio.

However, Dr. Kiggundu said Appointments Board has given a special consideration to the department of Dentistry and recruited some new members into the dental wing.

Without giving the exact number of new recruits, he said that staff ratio now is above the recommended recommeded ratio of 1:4.

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