Medical schools affiliated with Makerere University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) have received cautionary notices indicating that graduates may face registration issues with the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council due to the deteriorating state of their facilities.
Concerns have been raised by the Council, expressing apprehensions about the adverse impact of the dilapidated infrastructure on the quality of medical training provided at these institutions.
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, disclosed this information during a session with Parliament’s Education Committee while defending the university’s 2024/25 national budget framework paper.
Prof. Nawangwe further revealed that the Uganda Veterinary Board has already taken measures to halt the registration of graduates from Makerere University. The reason cited was the university’s failure to enhance its teaching infrastructure, leading to concerns about the compromised quality of graduates entering the veterinary sector.”
He also said that the University had received a similar warning from Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council, threatening not to register students from the medical school, if the institution doesn’t address concerns about the dilapidated structures housing the College of Health Science, particularly School of Medicine.
By the way, we have a warning from the Uganda Medical Council that if we don’t improve these facilities, they will stop registering our graduates. The same thing with the veterinary. The Veterinary Board has suspended the registration of our veterinary students and one of the things is infrastructure. The building where Vet is located wasn’t completed in the 1970s up to now, said Prof. Nawangwe.
The money that we need now to improve these facilities is Shs52.9Bn. But we know we aren’t going to get that money in one year, but if we can be given money to begin with, even the pressure from these boards will reduce, added Prof. Nawangwe.
The Vice Chancellor defended the need to improve the University’s infrastructure arguing that Makerere has the best school of public health on the African continent, and both the students and lecturers are doing a lot of work for the Ministry of Health. He revealed that all data collection and digitisation of data is done by the School of Public Health but their efforts are being hampered by the poor infrastructure at the College.
Our school of medicine handles some unique programmes that aren’t in any other school of medicine in the country and of course our enrolment as the country is still low for doctors and that should be increased. But this facility is very old, it was designed for 200 students during that time, we now have 3000 students in the College of Medicine because we introduced new programmes, said Nawangwe.
The University has requested UGX 16 billion for the renovations in 2024/25 financial year. The same request was made in April 2023 but Parliament did not appropriate the funds in the budget of 2023/24 financial year.
Also, officials from MUST also admitted to having received a similar warning from the Medical Council which may lead to the closure of the Faculty of Medicine over dilapidated structures. The University is also seeking UGX 2.461 billion to carry out renovations on the structures of the Faculty of Medicine.
Mbarara University is requesting UGX 18 billion to expand its faculty of medicine by constructing a multi-purpose structure that would house lecture rooms, laboratories and offices, while UGX 1.4 billion is needed to design this multi-purpose building.
Officials from MUST informed the Committee of the need for UGX 2.461 billion to embark on renovation of the old infrastructure in order to meet the minimum requirements as recommended by Medical Council during their visitation and cautioned that unless the University made substantive improvements in the infrastructure and teaching staff, the Council would recommend closure of the Faculty of Medicine.
During the same meeting, Makerere University also raised a number unfunded priorities including the UGX12 billion to harmonise salaries for staff; UGX 12 billion to cater for retirement benefits of in-house staff; and, UGX 14 billion to enhance food and living allowances for Government sponsored students.
The University has also asked Parliament to reinstate the UGX 13.2 billion that was cut under the 2023/24 budget. Also needed for restoration include; UGX 3.4 billion for Infectious Disease Institute; UGX 2.4 billion for Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre; and, an additional UGX 3.5 billion for water and electricity.
In the 2024/25 national budget, Makerere University has been allocated UGX 353.9 billion of which UGX 208.9 billion will be spent on wages, UGX 155.5 billion on non-wage expenditure, while UGX15.3 billion will be spent on development projects at the University.