As part of plans to address the high demand for admission into medical schools in Nigeria,PAMO University of Medical Sciences, described as the countryâ€™s first private medical university,was last weekend inaugurated in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The university, consisting of eight faculties, including Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Postgraduate Studies, among others, hopes to bring improvement in medical education and health services to the country.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Pro-Chancellor of the university and a former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, said competent and disciplined intellectuals were already being assembled to tutor students of the school.
He said the idea of the university was initiated after a chance meeting with the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, during a flight delay in Abuja in 2016, where Prof. Rasheed suggested that he should contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the area of medical sciences through the establishment of the institution.
â€œI thank the federal government for providing the licence to operate, and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike for his support and encouragement. The University has set a record in being the university that took the shortest time to plan and establish. It took only eleven months from submission of our â€˜letter of intentâ€™ to the granting of an operating licence by the federal government.â€
He also described PAMO University of Medical Sciences as the first private university of any type to be established in Rivers State.
Commending the former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, who was installed as the Chancellor of the university, for his contribution to the life of the institution, Odili said; â€œYour Excellency, posterity will continue to extol you for all your contributions not only to the Nigerian project which remains work in progress but also for your indelible role in the making of history of the university.â€
In his address after installation as the Chancellor of the institution, Abdulsalami noted that less than five per cent of qualified candidates are able to gain admission into medical programmes in existing Nigerian universities.
He said the inability of the institutions in Nigeria to meet up with demands for admission into universities to read medical-related programmes gave birth to PAMO University of Medical Sciences.
â€œOver the last decade, Nigeria has witnessed a phenomenal growth of private universities arising from the inability of public universities to cater for the demand of applicants seeking admission every year.
On his part, Governor Wike declared that the state government would partner private investors to promote tertiary education in the state. He also announced a grant of N500 million for PAMO University to support the development of the school and its students.
Wike also encouraged private universities and investors to key into the plans of his administration to invest in that sector.
The governor stated that to consummate the partnership with PAMO University of Medical Sciences, the state government would sponsor 100 indigenous students annually for the next five years. He said the state government established the College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University because of its commitment to train qualified medical doctors.
â€œWith two faculties of Medical Sciences in two universities, Rivers State will soon become a medical hub for training and certification of medical doctors and health professionals in Nigeria and beyond.
â€œWe are glad to have PUMS as beneficiaries of this new partnership and to demonstrate our commitment, therefore Rivers State Government has approved a grant of N500 million to support the development of the university.
â€œIn addition, the state government will also enter into memorandum of understanding with PUMS where we will be sponsoring 100 Rivers State students yearly for five years,â€ he added.