Church leases house, land for UCU SoM expansion
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/07/church-leases-house-land-for-ucusom-expansion/
By Douglas Olum
In the words of the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll, “Uganda Christian University (UCU) is the greatest investment of the Anglican Church in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
As the expressions of the first and former UCU Vice Chancellor resonate, the Church has not only prided in the university, but also has continuously pledged and rendered necessary supports as needs arise. One example of this support is manifested through the recent move in which the Provincial Church of Uganda leased for five years a building and land for the expansion of the UCU School of Medicine (SoM) that was opened in 2018.
The acting UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Development and External Relations, Mr. David Mugawe, said the given land located on Namirembe Hill, near the SoM current site, will be used to build additional classrooms to accommodate between 80 to 100 students. The SoM student body will increase by roughly 60 a year to 300 by 2023.
He also said the building given by the Church will be repartitioned to serve as a laboratory for studying microbiology as well as provide additional classroom space.
This development comes at a time when the university is preparing to admit the second lot of 60 students from more than 400 SoM applicants for the academic year starting August 2019.Mr. Frank Obonyo, a UCU Communications Officer, said the current school facility cannot accommodate a larger number of students than what the school has at the moment.
Mr. Mugawe says the university shall not renew the tenancy after the five years because “We hope that by that time we shall have already built our permanent home that shall accommodate students for all the five years and with more laboratories, all in one place.”
The permanent home is to be constructed at the current site. An American consultant and architect, Mr. Michael Reid, was in Uganda between late March and early April to study the site in order to generate the artistic impression for the home. The university has received the artwork and is expected to kick-start a major fundraising drive and contract awarding for the infrastructural development soon.
“We are excited that the School of Medicine is growing,” Mr. Mugawe said. “We want to move away from the practice of responding to the same need every year. And we believe our five-year strategic plan will get us there.”
However, he called for partnership from various individuals and institutions to help the university meet its goal.
“Operating a sensitive project like the School of Medicine is a journey you cannot walk alone. That is why we are calling for partners to support us, whether with their expertise, financially or technically,” Mr. Mugawe added.
When the school opened in August last year, a total of 60 pioneer students were admitted to pursue the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, and the Bachelor of Dental Surgery.With the School now training doctors, both the government of Uganda and the university administration are hopeful that UCUSoM graduates will be part of the positive transformation of the country’s health service delivery.
During the school launch in September last year, the Uganda Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, said that while there are many institutions training doctors and nurses in the country, professional ethics has been a huge challenge among the health practitioners, with many of them abandoning patients, stealing drugs from government hospitals or unnecessarily soliciting for money from patients.
The Minister, who also is a pediatrician, expressed hope that the doctors from UCU, just like graduates of other professions who have exhibited uniqueness in the country, would come up to fill the gap by serving patients with not only medical expertise but also diligent and Christian hearts.
For more of these stories related to Uganda Christian University (UCU) programs, students and graduates, visit https://www.ugandapartners.org. If you would like to support UCU, contact Mark Bartels, Executive Director, UCU Partners, at email@example.com or go to https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/