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dental dedication

Professor Jonathan Cowpe and Dr Richard Oliver report on their visit to Uganda
Kampala, Uganda

I
by

September the

2005

visitors

dental Faculty, to of

programme and on Mr

and Andrew

Professor Cronin,

Mulago Hospital, where the oral and maxillofacial surgery service is based. As a result of the visit, a series of recommendations that the were made, suggesting Universitys

representing

Universities

Jonathan Cowpe, Dean of the Dental representing the RCSEd, were invited advise a the establishment specialty oral and in postgraduate programme

of Cardiff and Bristol, and the

RCSEd were invited to the University of Makerere in Kampala, Uganda, to consider the development of the undergraduate dental programme and the development of a postgraduate specialist training programme in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This followed an initial visit in February 2004 and a return visit representatives from Makerere University to the Dental School in Cardiff University later the same year. As a result, Dr Richard Oliver and Mr Mark Brennan were invited to visit Makerere to advise on curriculum development in the undergraduate

existing Dental Department merge with the School of Public Health Dental Officers/Assistants to become an autonomous school within the College of Health Sciences. The new school would be responsible for the education of dental undergraduates, public health dental officers, dental nurses, and would also provide a postgraduate dental education programme their most urgent need being in oral and maxillofacial surgery. In order to facilitate this and the training of future dentists and associated professions,

training

maxillofacial surgery. During the visit, meetings were held with the Vice Chancellor of the University, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, the Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, the Dean of Medicine and the Deputy Dean of Education, and other representatives from to the Universitys staff and Faculty of from Medicine. There was also opportunity meet students

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it was recognised that the clinical and technical support facilities needed to be upgraded. With regard to the establishment of a training programme in oral and maxillofacial surgery, there was a need to establish intern posts and improve facilities within the district hospitals to accommodate newly trained surgeons. It was recognised that it would be valuable to introduce a system of vocational training in Uganda, based at Makerere and Mulago, to promote the status of, and respect for, general dental practice, and to reinforce the need that, for within continuing the professional dental development. Equally, it was important University, academics should receive recognition and promotion on the basis of their education expertise, as well as their research profile. For a number of years, much of the dentistry in Uganda has been carried out by public health dental officers, for which there is a school based within the University. These individuals are somewhat similar to dental therapists in the UK. The visit identified the requirement for negotiations between the staff within the dental department and the school of Public Health Dental Officers to develop an integrated core curriculum that is student-centred and based within a new dental school. At the same time, it would be helpful to consider introducing a blended curriculum using, in some instances, a problem-based learning approach but also utilising other methods of teaching and learning to develop a fit for purpose curriculum. Other recommendations included the creation of similar posts to

senior house officers in oral and maxillofacial surgery. In Kampala there are opportunities for personnel to undertake a Master of Medicine. The opportunities at present are limited for dentists. It is hoped that appropriate sponsorship would be made available to support trainees and equally forthcoming to support facilities in the regional hospitals. This would then enable specialists who have been trained in Kampala to carry out the treatments for which they have been trained either centrally or in regions around Uganda. During discussions with trainers in oral and maxillofacial surgery, encouragement was given to building a clinical database with access for staff and students, that support for research and audit projects should be identified, and that undergraduate and postgraduate students should endeavour to compile portfolios or records of achievement as a matter of urgency.

hospital. At present there are no recognised training programmes. Ugandas undergraduate dental course commenced in 1982, before which Ugandans had trained overseas. In 1972, training for public health dental workers was introduced in Kampala as it was felt this was the most costeffective way of dealing with dental care. The present consultants in oral surgery have invariably undertaken taught postgraduate courses in the UK. There is clearly wide support for a postgraduate training programme in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Equally, it is recognised that facilities and equipment must be made available elsewhere across Uganda in order to allow individuals following training to use their expertise to benefit patients. Ways in which training might be facilitated were discussed, such as identifying opportunities for training in UK units. It was felt that a better way forward would be a funded visit to Kampala by a trainer from overseas. This way the trainee would benefit from learning in their own environment and carrying out surgery on the variety of pathological conditions found more commonly in Uganda. Colleagues in Kampala have responded positively to the visit in 2005 and it is likely that a training programme in oral and maxillofacial surgery will soon be established. This shows how useful visits by representatives from the RCSEd can be in facilitating the development of undergraduate and postgraduate

It was recognised that it would be valuable to introduce a system of vocational training in Uganda to promote the status of, and respect for, general dental practice

At present, there is one accepted centre for oral and maxillofacial surgery, which is based at Mulago Hospital and is a national referral

training in the African continent. n J G Cowpe and R Oliver j.cowpe@rcsed.ac.uk


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