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.
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 In fact, in a recent unpublished study involving thirty-three (33) doctors working in various health facilities (excluding Tamale Teaching Hospital) in the Northern Region alone, it was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.
The School has the following departments and units:
Basic Sciences/Pre-clinical Departments:
- Department of Anatomy
- Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
- Department of Clinical Microbiology
- Department of Health Professions Education and Innovative Learning
- Department of Pathology
- Department of Pharmacology
- Department of Physiology
- Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
- Department of Community Health and Family Medicine
- Department of Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat
- Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics
- Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Department of Paediatrics and Child Health
- Department of Radiology
- Department of Surgery
- Skills Unit (with a Coordinator)
- Laboratory Unit (with a Coordinator)
- COBES (with a Coordinator)
The School also has an Accounts Unit, headed by a Senior Accountant and an Internal Audit Unit, headed by a Senior Auditor.
A Dean heads the School and the Senior Assistant Registrar, the faculty officer, takes care of administrative matters. The Dean is assisted by a Vice-Dean. There is also a School’s Examinations Officer. Each department has a head and also an examination officer.
The School has a total of about 54 lecturers. Below are the bio sketches of the lecturers in the School, who will be happy and inclined to work with like-minded researchers around the world. Researchers are encouraged to contact them directly for any bilateral or multilateral relationships in research and anything concerning academic activities.
Admissions of students:
The medical programme at the UDS-SMHS is a 6-year programme run using the PBL methodology.
The following qualifications are accepted for entry:
Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations or West Africa Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE/WASSCE) with their equivalences such as:
- GCE (Cambridge)-‘A’ levels
- IGCSE (Cambridge)-‘A’ Levels
- Any other external qualifications, which have equivalences to the SSSCE/WASSCE as determined by the National Accreditation Board.
Prospective students should have obtained passes in 6 subjects in the WASSCE/SSSCE examination. This is in line with basic entry requirements as per National Accreditation Board (NAB) into Tertiary institutions. Cut-off point will be year dependent. Candidates should have obtained credits or better in the core subjects: English, Mathematics, Integrated Science and any three elective subjects (Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Elective Mathematics) or the equivalent.
Candidates must satisfy the general requirements for admission under “A” Level of the G.C.E. or its equivalences in Science (Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Mathematics) with a maximum aggregate of Nine (9). In addition, candidates must have at least credit passes (Grade 6 or better) in five (5) GCE Ordinary level subjects including English Language, Mathematics, Additional Mathematics and General Science plus Additional Science or any two of the individual science subjects: Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
All applicants will be required to write and pass an aptitude examination/test and an interview before being offered admission.
At the interview, all applicants will be required to show the original and to present a photocopy of the following:
- School Certificates
- Examinations results slips
- Birth certificate
- Passport (for international students)
Applicants from Non-English speaking Countries should show evidence of English proficiency.
Successful candidates will be admitted to PBL 1 to begin their medical education.
At the end of the six years, successful candidates are awarded a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree by the University for Development Studies and are sworn in to start practicing medicine by the Medical and Dental Council of Ghana, the regulatory body for doctors and dentists.
Admission to the Master of Public Health Programme:
This academic year (2017/2018), the Department of Community Health and Family Planning of the School of Medicine & Health Sciences will admit the first batch of graduate students for a Master of Public Health (MPh) programme. Interviews have already been conducted for admissions to take place in September 2017. This is a 2-year, full-time, totally fee-paying programme.
Requirements for selection into the programme:
Applicants are expected to hold a good first Degree (Second Class Upper Division or better) from a recognized University to be eligible for selection. Candidates with a background in health related professions e.g. nursing, medicine, pharmacy, life sciences or applicants with the social sciences like psychology, sociology etc., who intend to make a career in any health related profession are encouraged to apply.
Selection is by an interview.
Admission to the Anaesthesia Programme:
This is an exclusively fee-paying programme. At the moment only nurses are admitted to the programme. It is a 2- or 3-year programme leading to the award of BSc degree in anaesthesia. Nurses with a diploma/SRN/GRN are admitted to level 200 and complete the programme in three years. Nurse anaesthetists with a diploma from a recognized institution and after a minimum of 2 years practice in a health facility are admitted to level 300 and complete the programme in 2 years. These anaesthetists are regulated by the Medical and Dental Council and are required to pass a licensure examination after obtaining the BSc degree in anaesthesia.
Admission is by an interview.
The student population for the 2016/2017 Academic year is about 850; made up of 783 medical students and 67 anaesthesia students.
Other Programmes in the pipeline:
The School of Medicine and Health Sciences hopes to introduce other programmes in the near future. These programmes will include:
- Dentistry – leading to the award of BDS degree.
- Pharmacy – leading to the award of PharmD degree.
- Physician Assistantship Programme – leading to the award of BSc (Physician Assistantship) degree.
Except for the Physician Assistantship Programme, which is a 4-year programme, the other two will last for 6 years.
The following student prizes are available for grabs. These are prizes to be given to medical students only. We hope to be able to extend this process to the other students in the School in the future.
- The Vice-Chancellor’s prize for the best student
- The Registrar’s prize for the best student
- The Dean’s prize for the best overall Graduating Medical Student
- Mr Poku prize for the best student in Paediatrics & Child Health
- Dr Sory prize for the best all-round Graduating Medical Student
- Ghana Medical Association prize for the best overall Graduating Medical Student
- Dr Patricia Turner Prize for the best student in Occupational Medicine
- Dr Bill Turner Prize for the best student in Family Medicine