RECENTLY THERE have been several articles showing that greater than 50 per cent of the graduates from the University of Rwanda are deficient in skills for which they seek employment.
If there is one area where this should not occur is medicine. If one is hospitalized, does one have to guess which half of the nurses are the ones responsible for your care; or for that manner, which pieces of equipment on which your life might be dependent was serviced by which half of the technicians.
There is a requirement that students need to carry out a research project to be awarded their degrees. Given that UR is under-resourced in infrastructure and support to provide professional training for those health care professionals that will be working with patients, it makes no sense to stretch the resources by requiring today’s students to adhere to old protocols that have been abandoned, internationally, so that health care professionals gain the needed skills to bring their practice in line with international standards.
Global travelers mean the ready movement of diseases. To detect these requires training in “evidence-based practices”. This means experienced health care workers in the field working with patients and developing critical analytical skills. These are skills that cannot be adequately learned from textbooks and lectures. It requires skilled and experienced instructors in the field working with students and patients.
One does not argue that advanced knowledge is gained through research and more education. But until Rwanda’s health care system has adequate, field-experienced, faculty routinely working in clinics with new health care professionals, practice trumps theory.
Dr. Tom Abeles, Rwanda