College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) has over the weekend held a glamorous ceremony for the 25th set of Doctors, 20th set of Pharmacists and Bachelor of Science Nurses at its Jui grounds.

Awoko reports that the Medical Doctor graduands were taken through the Hippocratic Oath which was administered by the Registrar, Medical & Dental Council, SL, Dr. Jibao D. Sandy.

Also the professional oaths for the Pharmacists and Nurses were administered by Dr. James P. Komeh, Registrar Pharmacy Board and Matron Christiana B. Massally, Registrar, Nurses and Midwives Board, respectively.

On Saturday 19th March, 2022, the University qualified 54 Medical Doctors with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, 34 Pharmacists with Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours, 46 Nurses with Bachelor of Science with Honours in Nursing Sciences, 28 Nurses with Bachelor of Science with honours in Medical-Surgical Nursing, 56 Nurses with Bachelor of Science with Honours in Midwifery and Obstetrics Nursing and 56 Nurses with Bachelor of Science with Honours in Nursing Education (Midwifery; Medical Surgical, Paediatrics & Neonatal).

The Deputy Vice Chancellor, whilst acknowledging their partners, paid tribute to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, stating that even though they are the direct beneficiary of all their products, they have been providing financial as well as human resource support to boost capacity in the College.

Most of the structure and curriculum reforms of their faculties and departments and the introduction of new courses he said were inspired by the ministries plan for the development of human resource for health in Sierra Leone.

The ministry supported the training of 221 SCCHN Nurses to State Registered Nurses, 18 Nurse Educators at bachelor’s level through funds provided by Global Fund. In addition, the ministry supported the training of 200 midwives, from certificate level to diploma, 60 midwives and 50 midwifery educators at bachelor’s level with funds provided by the World Bank.

“To this end, I wish to on behalf of these nurses say a very big thank you to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Global Fund and the World Bank. We also want to acknowledge the contribution of project Hope USA in supporting the training of 14 nurses at bachelor’s level in paediatrics and neonatal nursing and for providing mentorship to faculty in neonatal nursing. They also supported and participated in the development of the paediatrics and neonatal component of the BSN Honours Program and the Masters in Nursing curricula in paediatrics and neonatal nursing” he said.

Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Austin Demby admonished the graduates that the country is counting on them, “this country trust you, nobody goes into hospital for fun as most people go there because of trauma or in a very difficult situation, either for themselves or their loved ones” he said. “So when they go in there, there is an expectation, an expectation that I have come here with worries, concerns or difficulties with my health or the health of a loved one. The expectation is that this should be a space of confidence, caring for people and professionals.”

He urged them to live up to the public’s expectation saying that if the people have confidence in them they will not go to “peppeh docta”, or go to the “bush pharmacy”, maintaining that “we need to redefine ourselves and bring back the confidence in the public to be able to go to the hospital knowing the kind of services that they’re going to expect. So Nurses, Doctors, Pharmacists, this is your turn to step up… don’t allow people to tarnish the reputation of these great people we are grooming here” he said.

Sarjoh Aziz-Kamara, the Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education in his statement said that as health professionals who are graduating to support the improvement of health coverage, a core objective of the government essentially with their intervention they should help in reversing the adverse trends of high infant mortality, reduce the morbidity rates and show adequate response to health emergencies.

“Your readiness to work the extra hours, to be deployed to remote areas, to work in environments with limited infrastructure, inadequate medical equipment, are test you must pass to make COMAHS proud. Aim to make a difference by putting the interest of the patient first at all times and make a positive and lasting impression reflective of your professional ethics” he advised.

Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Dr Foday Sahr told the graduands that the swearing-in marks a significant accomplishment of a major academic journey.

“It also signals the beginning of real life endeavour in pursuit of your aspirations, because from now on, you’ll be expected to put into practice the skills and knowledge you have acquired over the years. You will no doubt meet people from various walks of life in the course of your professional practice and that is where your professional ability, conduct and the oath you are about to subscribe to will be put to a test on how you will rise to that occasion and challenge, will define who you truly are” he counselled.

He urged them to always remember that consultations, exchange of ideas and experiences are important aspects of the medical profession. “As prospective professionals, you are expected to always consult with senior colleagues and your peers as and when necessary in order to tap into their experiences and broaden or enhance your capacity” he said. “The University of Sierra Leone has recently reviewed its curricula to make provision or to encourage new graduates across the board to opt for higher degrees and specialties. This is intended to build capacity and strengthen human capital accountability, especially in the medical profession. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your areas.”