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Zanzibar School of Health strives for excellence

In this interview  that was exclusively granted to Our Staff Writer, Jaffar Mjasiri,  the Director of Zanzibar School of Health Company, which runs the school, Dr Amur Abdullah Amur said that the company's mission is to mould students to be role models in the academic professional arena by providing quality  education through our enlightened management and committed faculty to ensure knowledge transfer. Read excerpts...

Q. Please give our readers a brief background about yourself?
 A. I am employed at the Muhimbili National Hospital. I am principal  medical specialist in internal medicine with specialist experience
of 22 years in Tanzania, Germany, Kuwait and other countries.

Q. What about the School?
A.The school started operating since September 2011, but official inaugurated on 30th June 2012 by the Speaker of the Zanzibar
 House of Representative, Honourable Pandu Ameir Kificho.We have a  mission to mould our students to be role models in the academically  professional arena by providing quality education through our  enlightened management and committed faculty to ensure knowledge  transfer , motivate , instill research attitude , promote skills and  infuse ethical and cultural values to transform our students into  disciplined and competent citizens to improve the quality of life. 

Q. What is the course offered?
 A. We have established a college to train health related courses in Zanzibar. There is also a training leading to a  diploma in nursing and midwifery which is registered by the Zanzibar Nursing and Midwifery Council.  Q. How many students are admitted in the school?  We also have 45 students training in counseling psychology, a course which  is affiliated to the Tumaini University College of Iringa.At present we have 80 students studying diploma in nursing.

Q. How many tutors are there?
 A. We have got qualified ten teachers with experience in training cadres of  the mentioned diploma courses. All these trainers are graduates in their  respective fields. In the next academic year (2013/14) the school will start  offering diploma in clinical medicine. These are clinical officers training  courses for three years. The training is comprehensive, both theoretical and  practical oriented.

Q. Is nursing profession facing shortages?

A. It is very critical especially at the level of nursing and midwifery. In  Zanzibar there is one staff nurse for 50 patients, while the standard  requirement in the developed world is a ratio of 1:5. 

Q. What inspired you to open the school?
 A. The plight of the stakeholders especially parents who want to see their  children getting training opportunities. The parents are  anxious to see  their children getting qualified training that will help them to secure  stable employment as well as serve their country.

 Q. What is your training emphasizing?
 A. Our training emphasizes on quality healthcare and ethical commitment to serve this noble profession. Quality health entails provision of the  healthcare of a good standard using the required methods- standard operating  procedures.

Q. Do you intend to promote interactive medicine?
 A. Interactive medicine is still in its infancy in this part of the world. We are planning to embark in continuing medical education and telemedicine. We are trying to get partners in north America and in Europe so that the  school can participate in live telemedicine discussions.

Q. How do you prepare students ethically?
A. We are preparing the students both academically and morally to know their ultimate obligations once they are deployed to handle the patients. The  students are taught on the importance of sticking to professionalism.

Q. How does the school promote the patients right to consent?
 A. The members of the staff are preparing simplified literature to explain  the basic diagnosis and required investigations and the right for consent in  the management of the patient.

Q. What is your strategic plan?
 A. Our strategic plan ranges between 5-10 years. It is our hope that we  shall be able to have a state of the art 200 bed teaching hospital, which matches the standards of East Africa and Commonwealth medical practices. This will help us to attain a status of institute of clinical excellence.

Q. What was your dream?
 A. This is the beginning of achievement of my dream of having institutes of  clinical excellence matching international standards. It is also a way of  giving back to the community such services that are currently in high demand.

Q. How do you address the issue of disabled students?
 A. Out reach programme, scholarships for students who are disabled and  students who have achieved outstanding performance. Further we have started  cost sharing scholarships which are competitive and open to the students.

Q. Do you have any bridging programmes for students?
 A. The next intake will have a window of a bridging programme from  certificate to diploma, premedical to medical degree, diploma to advance  diploma.

Q. What are the entry requirements?
A. The school recruits form four leavers with successful completion of  secondary education. The minimum requirement for  admission is 2 credits for  biology and chemistry for those joining a nursing diploma and five passes  for counseling psychology.

Q. What are the major challenges?
 A:The cost of running the course is enormous. Lack of our own hospitals for  practicals is another challenge. Another constraint is the cost of equipment  and library materials.

Q. Is the fees affordable?
 A. The fees structure is affordable to many students. The schools charges  850,000/- per student per annum. However the accommodation is not provided.

Q. What are your future plans?
A. We are planning to affiliate the school with other institutions in the country and abroad as well as offer online training.

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