Gambela Medical School Site Visit and Assessment Executive Summary, 1-2018:
- The project is supported at the federal level (Foreign Minister Dr. Aklilu), regional level (Gambela Ministers of Health and Education), university (Dr. Opiew and deans), community (Mayor) and Gambela Hospital level (CEO and CMO). All persons interviewed, including students grades 10, 11, 12 and post graduates consistently are enthusiastic about development of a medical school in Gambela. Based on in-country support, our recommendation is to proceed.
- The need for additional physicians in Ethiopia and specifically in Gambela, with strategies to train local candidates locally is also apparent based on national physician to population ratios (quoted as 1:100,000 as recently as 2013), national loss of Ethiopian physicians and local turn over of new graduates after two years (personal interviews with CEO of hospital, Ministers of Health and Education). Evidence from U.S. experience demonstrates that training physicians locally increases the likelihood that they will remain in the area of training (e.g., Colville Family Medicine Rural Training Track).
- The community based need for additional well-trained physicians is apparent based on a site visit to the hospital where inadequate facilities, equipment and personnel have led to overwhelming patient volumes for the hospital and its services.
- Partnership with the hospital and university in Gambela are highly desirable and possible and these will form a solid base for the proposed medical school. Partnerships to include developing the hospital resources, equipment, tools and physicians and staff to provide excellent training for physicians.
- A new campus for Gambela University with sufficient housing for 2500 students and appropriate levels of faculty is expected to be completed within 3 months. This campus is expected to adequately provide for the education and housing of the medical students for the first two years.
- Land has been set aside for the proposed health sciences campus of at least 2 km x 2 km. In addition to dormitories, teaching facilities, library and faculty housing, a healthcare center and patient education center are proposed for multidisciplinary training and care of the community.
- A medical school as part of a larger health teaching institution is needed, desired and possible to effect the transformation of health outcomes for the region, including Gambela, South Sudan and Sudan, and other regional countries, for which we fully expect that Gambela University will become a center of excellence for training healthcare professionals.
- MOU to be negotiated, finalized and signed between Wayne State University and Gambela University within sixty days.
- Gambela University to present the project for approval to the Senate and University board within two weeks.
- Once MOU is signed, Gambela University to request by May, 2018 for twenty students to be placed at Gambela Medical School starting September, 2018.
- Other U.S. team members to create a needs list for the hospital and proposed teaching health center (Barry and Gatbel) and send to potential donors within thirty days.
- Diaspora under direction of Gugo Kwot to create or approve 501c3 to be used for donations of cash and equipment for teaching and clinical care within 30 days.
- Diaspora under the direction of Gugo Kwot to create a scholarship fund within 60 days so that some additional qualifying students can attend medical school who would otherwise be unable to do so (e.g., South Sudanese students, refugees).
- Once MOU is signed, donors to be sought by U.S. team for long term grants for various components of the project over the next 12 months (buildings, IT connectivity, medical and teaching resources, site development, architectural design, faculty support, etc.)
- National Ethiopian medical curriculum to be reviewed by team members within three months (e.g., Barry, Gatbel, Kristiana, Ijeoma?) to ensure that the first year’s education is covered by the Gambela University faculty with gaps filled in by visiting professors.
- The need to improve the likelihood of acceptance to medical school by local students, including refugees, will be addressed through partner agency teaching at 11th and 12th grade levels over the next year. (e.g., David Jal’s organization).