Nust to double medical school enrolment

The National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has announced plans to double its enrolment for its medical and health sciences school.

The school currently housed at Mpilo Hospital receives more than 600 applications a year from qualifying prospective students.

Speaking at a briefing meeting with a team of doctors from the Islamic Republic of Iran who are in the country for a special exchange visit, Nust medical school Executive Dean Professor Elopy Sibanda said the school has failed to increase its intake to accommodate more students at its facilities due to limited built infrastructure.

He said a new block was being built, which he said will help the school to absorb more students to train as doctors and other related health programmes.

The university’s school of medicine currently enrols about 25 students per intake, however, Sibanda said plans were underway and had been approved to increase the school’s enrolment to 60 students per intake.

He said the university was often overwhelmed during the selection process as hundreds of qualifying prospective students would have sent in applications and the university had resorted to using stringent entrance application tests as part of ways to narrow down the number of shortlisted candidates.

“The level of demand is very high and the candidates are very highly qualified and if we could expand these services and expand our premises we could accommodate more students. There is a WHO-recommended patient-to-doctor ratio and we could be able to achieve that if we trained more doctors, but we do not want to train shallow people, we want to train specialist doctors and not only general practitioners. The increase in the number is still a small dot compared to the numbers that show interest. We could have been able to increase more, but our campus is yet to be constructed so we are not able to accommodate as many as we would desire,” he said.

He said the medical school was working closely with the Iranian doctors’ delegation and said there was potential for groundbreaking medical research that could help the two nations contribute to finding better health solutions for the world.

“We are therefore trying to capitalize on the expertise of the Iranians while we have them here so that we exchange ideas and skills on how we can improve our training, which will have a direct bearing on the type of service that patients will receive in terms of expertise,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Iranian delegation said they were impressed with the work done by the NUST School of medicine despite the limited resources available and promised to establish ways of ensuring that the medical school was capacitated with the equipment it needed for better training.

“We are happy to be in Bulawayo and to be engaging with the directors as well as with those in the field of training here at the medical school. There are numerous opportunities for research which can be explored which we feel are going to help transform communities through the provision of better health services,” said the Head of the delegation from Iran, Dr Seyed Nasser Emadi. 

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