KIU, Western Campus – The Federation of Uganda Medical Students Association (FUMSA), wants the government to allow medical, pharmacy, and nursing students in clinical years to continue their training amidst the COVID-19 partial lockdown.
The students, in a joint petition written by FUMSA president Boniface Osodi, Uganda Pharmaceutical Students Association president Innocent Agaba and the Representative of the Uganda National Association of Student Nurses and Midwives Kalifan Hisonga Nyengo, argue that they are greatly needed to supplement the health sector.
“While other institutions can wait, there is a strong justification that these categories of students can’t wait because they are greatly needed to supplement the health sector workforce that is much needed,” reads a part of the petition, which is addressed to the Ministers of Education and Sports, Health and State for Higher Learning, as well as the Speaker of Parliament and the Prime Minister.
The students also argue that the clinical students have lost a lot of time due to COVID-19 and by virtue of their current training can’t benefit from online lessons because they need hands-on practical skills.
“No one learns to perform a procedure without physically observing it, assisting and later performing under direct supervision before being judged competent to perform independently, something that is lacking if online tutorials are emphasized,” the students argue.
They also contend that institutions are better equipped and have enough capacity to observe and enforce the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place by the Ministry of Health to protect against COVID-19. They add that the clinical students are few in number and easier to handle and supervise to ensure safe and sustainable re-opening of schools.
The students, to drive their point home, quote Canadian physician William Osler who famously said that, “He who studies medicine without books sails on uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all.”
FUMSA president Boniface Osodi (in the photo) told this website that all the required signatures have been secured and they will deliver the petition to the targeted parties as soon as possible.