With the full accreditation of courses and programmes in PAMO University of Medical Sciences by sundry medical and health professional bodies, including the National Universities Commission recently, and ongoing upgrade of its teaching hospital, its management is determined to raise the bar of medical education in Nigeria, Ugo Aliogo writes
The recent accreditation of courses at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences in Port Harcourt by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and other medical and health professional bodies, including the National Universities Commission (NUC), has turned the institution into a first choice for parents who want their children to have not just sound medical education but to graduate in record time.
The significance of the development is that students can now take their fourth year exams in pathology and pharmacology, and those who passed can proceed to the fifth year. To the institution, this is a milestone considering that many other institutions, both public and private, spent years to achieve this feat, which makes students spend longer than the six years to graduate.
The latest accreditation also allowed the MDCN team to assess the university’s library to see the books and other learning aids such as journals and ICT facilities, which they adjudged very satisfactory.
In the last two years, the National Universities Commission (NUC) and sundry medical and health professional bodies have accredited the courses and programmes of the institution to the satisfaction and delight of the management, staff, students and their parents.
Accreditation of degree programmes by the NUC is a system of evaluating academic programmes in Nigerian universities to ensure that they meet the provisions of the Minimum Academic Standards (MAS) documents. The objectives of accreditation of academic programmes are to: ensure that the provisions of the MAS are attained, maintained and enhanced.
For PAMO University of Medical Sciences, NUC accrediting its courses and programmes within four years is remarkable. The good news to the institution’s students, management, and stakeholders is that with the full accreditation of courses and programmes, the students can be assured that they are running genuine programmes. So, it is with their parents who are responsible for their welfare.
The cheering news is that the accreditation would make the young university a place of choice for admission seekers, as parents and guardians would want their children and wards to attend PAMO.
Recently, after the NUC accreditation, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria also accredited the university’s Department of Nursing Science. This was immediately followed by the accreditation by the Medical Laboratory Council, which means that the university now has all its courses and programmes fully accredited.
Currently, the institution has courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, human nutrition and dietetics, pharmacology and physiology in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, as well as Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) and nursing in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences.
PUMS is Nigeria’s first private medical university solely committed to pursuing only courses and programmes in the medical and allied fields. It is well-equipped and furnished to world standards and situated in a serene environment in Port Harcourt. The university management said its objective is to take medical education to its peak in the country.
The founders of the school, while conceptualising a world-class university dedicated to building healthcare workers, including medical doctors and nurses in the country.
In the about four years of its existence, the university has maintained its standards and policies. Admission into the school is still strictly based on merit, and all the students are resident on campus. It has zero tolerance for cultism and other related vices for both staff and students.
For students to fully concentrate on their studies and not show off affluence, they are not allowed to use private cars on campus, nor are they allowed to loiter. Even visitors, parents and guardians are not allowed to have unscheduled visits.
Furthermore, the institution frowns at indecent dressing as students are not allowed to expose their bodies. The school has a dress code for lectures and official functions for both students and officials.
PAMO boasts of the best classrooms, halls, laboratories and library facilities in the country, with unbeatable hostel facilities. Each room has two students. All the rooms are en suite with a constant water supply and water heater. The school also boasts of a 24-hour power supply, unlike some schools where students are thrown into darkness till morning whenever there is an outage from the public power supply at midnight.
One of the university’s greatest strengths is that it already has an existing teaching hospital established by its founder, a renowned medical doctor established in the 1980s called PAMO Clinics and Hospitals Group.
The hospital has been at the forefront of providing high-class medical care and services to residents and visitors to Port Harcourt and Rivers State for nearly 40 years. It has also provided high-quality medical treatment and health promotion services spanning Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Paediatrics to individuals, families and corporate organisations spanning sectors such as energy, oil and gas, power, agriculture, and construction.
This means that from takeoff, the hospital has been aiding students right from early stages to have full medical knowledge and experience. This is unlike other universities whose students are not exposed to hospital experience until they are in 400 level.
Even at that, the school’s management is presently building a gigantic four-storey building on Aba Road that would house a comprehensive teaching hospital.
Besides, the school had long signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rivers State government and State University Teaching Hospital, where its students will be visiting the State University Teaching Hospital for clinical training before the completion of the building of the PAMO teaching hospital.
Reacting to the latest accreditation by the MDCN, the Special Adviser to the Pro-Chancellor of the university, Dr. Abdulrahman Sambo, noted that while many other institutions, both public and private, spend years to achieve, making students spend longer than the six years to graduate, PAMO students can now within the record time.
“Crossing the second MDCN accreditation is really a great milestone for the university. Many other public and private institutions spend years to achieve this, thus making students spend longer than the six years to graduate. With this development, our students can now take their fourth year exams in pathology and Pharmacology, and those who passed can proceed to the fifth year,” Sambo said.
The special adviser had told NAN recently that PAMO was only the first institution to be granted license within one year of planning but the first to obtain full accreditation of all its courses and programmes at the first visit of NUC and MDCN, and first to have its admission quota for medicine increased or doubled even before graduating the first set of medical students.
“NUC has granted full accreditation status to six of the seven programmes, the seventh programme, MBBS, has not been visited because it’s not due yet, since it’s a six-year programme, so the visit will be towards the end of next year. Nursing and Midwifery Council has also granted full accreditation to the programme and increased admission quota of students, same with medical laboratory science which has been granted full accreditation also,” he added. “The one granted by MDCN is for pre-clinical because their accreditation takes three stages: first is pre-clinical, second is basic clinical sciences, and the third and final is for the clinical sciences. A university has to scale one before it gets to the next stage.”
Further, he remarked that apart from the MBBS, Bachelor of Nursing Science, Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, Bachelor in Physiology, Anatomy, Biochemistry and Pharmacology, the university was planning to add more courses during the next academic session.
“We are the first university to be granted licence within one year of planning, the first university to obtain full accreditation of all its programmes at the first visit, and first to have its admission quota for medicine increased or doubled even before graduating the first set of medical students.
“This was a record, getting a licence under a year. Others spend five to 15 years planning for this and PAMO is the first and only private university in Nigeria that was able to get the licence within a year of commencement of planning and first to start academic activities a few months after.”
When asked how he felt with a series of accreditations the university has received, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Michael F. Diejomaoh, said he was elated, adding that all the aspects of the accreditations went well as the students and staff and the programmes were well assessed and adjudged satisfactory.
“I felt very confident and satisfied that we performed very well and creditably as all the aspects went well as the students, staff and the programmes were well assessed and adjudged satisfactory,” he said.