KAMPALA – A joint inspection team from the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat has cleared the newly established Kampala International University (KIU) Dental School to admit students and recommended the closure of the one at Makerere University for failing to meet the minimum teaching standards.
The EAC Partner States Medical and Dental Boards and Councils early this year inspected several medical schools within the region to establish their compliance to the required teaching and health standards, among them, the KIU Dental School at its Western Campus and the Makerere University College of Health Sciences.
In a report dated 3rd July 2019, the joint Councils mandated Makerere University to close its Dental Department at the Mulago College of Health Sciences over failure to meet the minimum requirements in terms of staffing and infrastructure and advised that it redistributes the already admitted students for the September 2019 intake to other dental schools within the region.
On the other hand, the report recommended that the KIU Dental School, which is based at its Western Campus in Ishaka-Bushenyi goes ahead to admit and train dental students. “The joint EAC Partner States Medical Boards and Councils hereby approve Kampala International University to start the training of Dental Surgery to a maximum of 50 students per academic year and ensure that their numbers continuously correspond with approved EAC ratios,” the report reads in part.
It also highlighted that KIU met all the requirements of approval in terms of staffing levels, leadership structure, facilities, and the curriculum.
Approved by all heads of the Medical Councils in the EAC member states, including Prof Joel Okullo of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, the report was compiled by renowned regional medical practitioners, among them Prof David Ngassapa from the Medical Council of Tanzania, Mr Daniel Yumbya, the CEO of Kenya Medical Practitioners Council and Dr Tharcisse Ngambe from the Rwanda Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council.
In order to strengthen its staffing requirements and capacity, its noted in the report that KIU signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Nairobi and the Nigeria Technical Aid Corps (TAC) to share staff and skills and goes on to say that KIU has 10 specialists in the different fields of orthodontics, paediatric dentistry, oral maxillofacial facial surgery, prosthodontics, oral pathology and community dentistry.
In terms of infrastructure, the report says that the KIU Dental School has adequate Departments such as the Faculties of Clinical Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, all with Deans, Associate Deans and Heads of Department, as well as an approved curriculum that is up to date and approved by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC).
Makerere in trouble
The Makerere University’s Dental School on the other hand has not recruited enough staff in fulfilment of the required 1:4 staff-student ratio. The report faults the University for refusing to recruit more staff, “The Dean reported that the School had recruited 3 new members of teaching staff. However it was noted that one was hired on a one-year renewable contract while the other two were part time,” it reads in part.
The report goes on to state that the Makerere University Dental school is not well equipped and lacks adequate specialised staff at the oral and maxillofacial surgery, restorative dentistry, community dentistry, paediatric dentistry and periodontology academic units, and as thus, advises that the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOEs) should redistribute the newly enrolled students scheduled for the September 2019 to other approved dental schools.
“The University should stop new admissions in the dental programme until the recommendations are complied with a re-inspection by EAC Partner States National Medical Boards and Councils carried out at their own cost,” the report reads.
KIU and Makerere University are the only institutions offering dental teaching programmes.