Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Nigeriaâ€™s first and privately-owned university of medical sciences, Pamo University of Medical Sciences (PUMS) formally kicked off last weekend with the matriculation of 123 students.
This came as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike said the state has fulfilled its promise of sponsoring 500 students in the next five years, adding that the first set of 100 students are already studying in the institution.
While congratulating the new students, he advised beneficiaries of the state governmentâ€™s scholarship to put in their best so as to contribute to the development of the state in future.
Performing the maiden matriculation ceremony in Port Harcourt, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Michael Diejomaoh said the students were across three foundation faculties- Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences and Allied Health Sciences.
To the students Diejomaoh said: â€œAs you begin this journey to build your professional career in PUMS, I wish to remind you of the great opportunities available to you which are not the same in some other universities in Nigeria today. Paramount among them is uninterrupted academic activities with high standard teaching facilities, modern teaching techniques, comfortable lecture halls, quality laboratories, well equipped libraries and most of all, the best available manpower in your chosen fields, carefully assembled to impart quality education to you in a well thought-out learning environment.â€
He said research had shown a dearth of medical manpower at all levels when compared to the requirement of a bloated population.
â€œThe ratio of qualified medical manpower to the Nigerian population is appalling and falls well below the WHO standards and those of the developed and many developing countries. In a nutshell, the ratio of professional medical personnel today is gravely disproportionate to our teeming population and has remained a source of concern.â€
Other challenges he identified include incessant strikes in the health sector, poor financing of the sector resulting in poor facilities, poor remuneration of medical staff in the midst of medical crises which include HIV epidemic, drug abuse, juvenile delinquencies. These, he said have created a gap in the countryâ€™s health system and increased the need for more medical manpower.
He said the students are therefore being trained to help improve the population of available medical manpower and reduce the wide gap between the population and the manpower at the disposal of the nation.
â€œAt PUMS, we donâ€™t tell students what to think. Instead, our teaching is designed to produce intellectual self-reliance to teach you how to learn and how to take charge of your thinking.â€
Diejomaoh stressed that the university has zero tolerance for cultism, hooliganism and other forms of social vices and warned the students that they might not be given a second chance should they fall into any of the vices.
In his remarks, the Pro-Chancellor and founder of the university, Dr. Peter Odili, expressed delight at the speed with which the institution took off, saying that there is the hand of God in the institution.
â€œThe hand of God is in this university and we pray that the students will be a source of pride to the university and Nigeria.â€
The Chancellor and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, congratulated the students and advised them to be disciplined if they wish to achieve their purpose in the institution, as well as to maintain a peaceful-coexistence with their host communities.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu expressed excitement with the full take-off of academic activities in the university and promised the assistance of the ministry at all times.
Adamu, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said out of the 164 universities in Nigeria, 75 are privately-owned and only two of the 75 are exclusive to medical education, adding that only PUMS has fully taken off.