NAMIBIA: First medical school to open next year

The senate of the University of Namibia has approved the curriculum for the country's first medical school. This means that Namibia should start training medical doctors from next year, beginning with an intake of 50 students.

Dr Lischen Hoases-Gorases, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Namibia (UNAM), told University World News that the medical school would be an important milestone for Namibia and would open opportunities for scores of young people who could hitherto not train as doctors in their own country.

"It means that doors have been opened for Namibians to enter a profession that they probably only dreamed of. In the past they had to cross the border into South Africa. Not all could be accommodated and the system was such that South Africa would meet its own needs before taking in others," she said.

The approval of the curriculum followed an extensive development process led by Professor Jacob Mufunda, who has since left the university.

Hoases-Gorases said there was wide consultation with several other institutions including the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the University of Berlin in Germany, the University of Oulu in Finland, and the University of Botswana.

The curriculum was also discussed with various stakeholders, she added, so that it produces practitioners with skills relevant for Namibia.

The first 50 medical students will be from Namibia, although non-Namibians will also be considered if sufficient qualified Namibian students cannot not be found. Students will graduate after six years.