On Thursday, April 2, 2020, medical students from the University of Rwanda satisfied their curiosity about the medical curriculum. MEDSAR through SCOME (Standing Committee on Medical Education), organized an online session titled “Know medical curriculum” whose objectives were to explain the medical curriculum at the University of Rwanda. It gathered around 250 participants online as there was no possibility of gathering in physical meetings because of the pandemic COVID-19 preventive measures.
The speaker who is also the dean of the School of Medicine and Pharmacy, Prof. Jean Claude BYIRINGIRO Started by describing different curriculums that are used by different medical schools Worldwide, where each should define well what the competencies are expected from their graduates, intended learning outcomes and strategies to achieve them.
He furthermore explained one that is being used by the University of Rwanda which is of five years and each year is two-semester with 21weeks per semester, The exit award is MBChB also callled the MBBS. “The aim of the program used by the medical school at the University of Rwanda is to train physicians that are fit for the purpose and fit for practice in the domain of healthcare and health promotion. The program builds on knowledge and skills acquired from secondary schools and other relevant training and every year program builds on knowledge and skills obtained from previous years” Dean said. He continued by saying that they assess knowledge and skills that their trainees (students) gained including cognitive, intellectual skills and application of knowledge, communication skills among others. The curricular themes the University of Rwanda focuses on through its curriculum of five years as components of integrated modular content are the ethics and professionalism, patient safety, medical informatics and evidence-based medicine, social medicine and biomedical sciences where each has its learning objectives.
The medical doctor who graduated from the University of Rwanda is expected to be a professional, communicator, collaborator, manager, health advocate, scholar above all university of Rwanda medical graduate is a patient and community health care provider.
According to the benchmarks created by the Inter-University Council for East Africa during the regional integration for the medical and dentistry program as established in 2017 and the core curriculum produced by Rwanda Medical and Dental Council(RMDC) for undergraduate training. The University of Rwanda was then requested to revise its curriculum, to align its training programs to the regional requirements as stated above and others that are international. And this is the reason why the University of Rwanda will have a new undergraduate program by next year that is being designed with the inputs from different stakeholders including students, as the dean explained the new curriculum will provide more clinical exposure to medical students compared to the current curriculum.
The University of Rwanda is struggling to upgrade its infrastructures(including laboratories, Library, and more others), human resources and a good program and if all these requirements are available the university is likely to have a successful program and competent graduates. He concluded by requesting participants to give suggestions of what can be focused on during the design of a new curriculum. He advised students in clinical years especially those in last year to take advantage of this time of the pandemic to work on their research proposals.
The national officer for medical education Jean d’Amour NIYONKURU whose among his responsibilities is advocacy for medical students and medical education said that this session was really in need and we hope that the majority of the participants if not all have well understood the medical curriculum which is being used and changes that might be made to create more competent graduates as it will be in line with regional and international guidelines.
feedback from one of the participants, Jean NIYONSENGA, where his words were full of appreciations to the job done by the organizers of this online discussion. “It was a tremendous and interactive discussion and well organized as all participants were aware of the platform to be used and comfortable with it. In the discussion, medical students understood well their curriculum and the new curriculum that is being revised, and they were given a platform to give their opinions on what areas the new curriculum should focus on” He said. He recommended the SCOME team to keep forward by organizing more physical and online meetings for medical students to understand and get updates of the medical curriculum and other university services in general.
MEDSAR president NDAGIJIMANA Serge closed the session by thanking in particular Dean of School of Medicine and pharmacy Prof.BYRIRINGIRO J Claude for his time despite others committed work and also He thanked all participants for their interest to know the medical curriculum and asking questions .
Edited by SCOME Team