About UDS School of Medical Sciences

About UDS School of Medical Sciences

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) of the University for Development Studies (UDS) was established in 1996. The first intake of medical students included Prof Juventus B. Ziem, a clinical microbiologist and Dr Edmund Muonir Der, a pathologist, who are both with the School. In 1999 the first batch of SMHS medical students were sent to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital supposedly to start their clinical rotations since there were no adequate numbers of clinicians in the then Tamale Regional Hospital (TTH) to start the clinical training. The second batch of clinical students was sent to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital for the same purpose.

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In 2008, a decision was taken to start training the students in the clinical disciplines in TTH since many more specialists in the various clinical disciplines were then working in the hospital. The first batch of wholly trained Tamale SMHS-UDS medical students passed out in 2011 and since then we have not looked back. Up to date, we have trained a total of over 290 doctors who are engaged in serving mother Ghana in various capacities in hospitals, clinics, etc. across the length and breadth of Ghana.

The graduates from SMHS/UDS are trained using the problem-based learning (PBL) methodology and the community-based education and service (COBES), which allows students to stay in a community and learn from it and at the same provide some services. As a result the doctors from this School are versatile and accept postings to anywhere in this country. In fact, in a recent unpublished study involving thirty-three (33) doctors working in various health facilities (excluding Tamale Teaching Hospital) in the Northern Region alone, it was established that twenty-seven i.e. over 81% of them were products of UDS-SMHS. This is a positive sign that given the requisite facilities and the manpower required, SMHS will perform creditably and populate the three northern regions in particular and the country, as a whole, with the needed hardworking, dedicated and talented doctors.

The flagship programmes of the School are: the PBL methodology, where students are introduced to normal anatomy, physiology and related disciplines of the human body and gradually get to understand pathology – pathological anatomy, pathophysiology and allied disciplines by the time they are in the third year; COBES – a three-year programme in which from level 100 to 300, the students are introduced to communities in savannah ecological zone with health facilities. The students, usually ten (10) in number, are attached to the health facility and they stay in the community for four weeks each year for 3 years. Simply put, in the four weeks of the first year, they do what is termed community entry (demographics of the community, health seeking behaviour of the inhabitants, etc.) and each student takes a family; for the second year, the students go back to the same communities and attempt to diagnose the problems of the communities, especially health-related problems; and finally, in the 3rd year, they go back to the same communities with solutions to the problem(s) noted in the second year. With such training it is no wonder that our products end up preferring to stay in such communities to work because they feel that they can relate to the communities and can help solve some of their health problems.

After a successful level 300 or what we refer to as PBL 3 the students move to the clinical years (3 of them). After successfully completing the three clinical years (PBL 4 to 6) and passing the Final Part II examinations in Community Health and Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Therapeutics and Surgery-in-General, the students are awarded the Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Surgery (MBChB) degree by UDS. This enables them to take part in an oath-swearing ceremony administered by the Medical and Dental Council of Ghana to allow them to practise as doctors.

The School also trains nurse anaesthesia students to the level of Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. The programme is a 2/3 years i.e. 2 years for nurse anaesthetists who have a diploma in anaesthesia and three years for registered nurses.