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Story Highlights

  • More Jamaican students will be able to access medical training at the recently opened $4 billion Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching and Research Complex, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus.
  • The 250,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility boasts some of the most advanced teaching and research laboratories, lecture theatres and tutorial rooms, which national leaders and academics at UWI have hailed as an investment for a great future in medical advancement.
  • With an enrolment of some 2,000 students annually, the expanded UWI Medical Faculty now has five large lecture theatres, 25 tutorial rooms, 45 small research laboratories for staff, and 12 larger research laboratories equipped with the latest multimedia technology for students.

More Jamaican students will be able to access medical training at the recently opened $4 billion Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching and Research Complex, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus.

The 250,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility boasts some of the most advanced teaching and research laboratories, lecture theatres and tutorial rooms, which national leaders and academics at UWI have hailed as an investment for a great future in medical advancement.

Also on offer is a modern dentistry training programme, which is going to revolutionize that area of the medical field, as well as heighten the level of research and training that UWI put into Tropical Medicine, and its related disciplines.

Principal of the UWI, Mona campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, says the institution has not been able to admit most of the students who seek medical training, but the expansion “provides an opportunity for more students to be admitted…thus providing opportunities for Jamaica’s young people.”

“Without the expansion, we would not have been able to offer more places to Jamaican students. Paradoxically, more poor Jamaican students have been able to do medicine at Mona, now than before,” he says.

The new building has first world pre-clinical facilities, and the UWI has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Health, which gives students access to Government’s clinical facilities to enhance their medical training.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says there is no doubt about the achievement of the University of the West Indies in the graduates produced, and the leaders who have graduated, not only Jamaicans, but persons from across the Caribbean and beyond.

“Any country that you go now, especially in the area of medicine, and you find a UWI graduate, you can rest assured that that person is among the best in any area of work that you would find them,” the Minister adds, noting that a policy is being looked by the Government to provide similar support to dental students.

Lauding the UWI dental programme, Dr. Ferguson says the simulation lab is the best that can be found anywhere.

“Your first cohort is coming out in 2015, and we look forward to seeing them practising in Jamaica, and continuing the good tradition of dentistry,” the Minister adds.

For his part, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the University has always been innovative in responding to the training needs of the region, and the programmes that it initiates justify Government subventions, and also fit in with the national vision being pursued.

“The University has been exemplary in comporting itself, open and receptive to national needs. This justifies the contribution of the tax payers of Jamaica, and augurs well for the future of higher education, and the competencies that are needed to achieve our 2030 Vision,” the Minister explains.

Professor McDonald says curriculum revision and the expansion of the medical school “have ensured that the UWI medical school has not only maintained the quality of its product, but has improved the quality of its programmes through the improvement in facilities and personnel.”

With an enrolment of some 2,000 students annually, the expanded UWI Medical Faculty now has five large lecture theatres, 25 tutorial rooms, 45 small research laboratories for staff, and 12 larger research laboratories equipped with the latest multimedia technology for students.

Other features of the new Medical Faculty include a new theatre in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences; the renovation and expansion of another; expansion and renovation of the Physiology laboratory; refurbishing of the Microbiology Department; renovation of several areas of the Department of Pathology, and renovation of the Computer laboratory.

“The expansion has positively impacted our quality by increasing diversity in the student population and facilitating employment of additional staff, thus ensuring a student – teacher ratio of 4:1,” Professor McDonald informs.