PAMO as Model for Medical Education

From all that transpired last week at the second convocation ceremony of PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Port Harcourt, it is clear that the institution is determined to continue to be contributing quality manpower to Nigeria’s health sector, Blessing Ibunge writes

For those who witnessed the second convocation ceremony of PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Port Harcourt, last week, it was simply a spectacle to behold. The colourful event had top government officials in Rivers and beyond in attendance.

But none glowed with pride at the occasion like the graduates. For some, it was more than just receiving a certificate; it was a celebration of passing through one of the best universities in the country. They graduated from the school, acquiring life-changing and career-defining skills.​

Since its establishment five years ago, PAMO has built an enviable reputation, running its academic calendar uninterrupted. At the event, 39 students graduated from the school and ready to practise nursing and other allied medical fields. Out of the 39 graduands, six came tops with first class. The graduates received certificates in​ Medical Laboratory, Nursing, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology and Pharmacology.

The event was not all about awarding degrees and prizes to the best graduating students, but also an opportunity to admonish the graduands.

For instance, former Head of State and Chancellor of the school, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), called on Nigerians to work for the country’s peace. He stressed that to achieve peace in the country, there should be more focus on the rehabilitation and reorientation of the youths, especially building their interest in education.

“Without peace, there wouldn’t be a country, so let us give peace a chance in our country,” he said. Abdulsalami commended Governor Nyesom Wike for his generosity to the university.

Also, the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, Dr Peter Odili, said from the achievements made by PAMO in the last five years, no other private university has moved at the same pace. He added that apart from the fact that all the programmes in the schools have been​ accredited by the regulatory​ agencies and authorities of the federal government, the university has, in five years, graduated two sets.

Odili thanked Wike for the scholarship programme for students in the school, which has attracted more students to PAMO University.

Describing Wike as the best governor Rivers and Nigeria has ever produced, the former governor thanked him and assured him that the privilege which has led to the institution’s growth would always be appreciated.

Odili also promised to support the young graduates who want to further their studies to any level.

Given its high standard of education, PAMO was again extolled by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Kanu Agabi (SAN), during the convocation ceremony.

Agabi, the keynote speaker, pointed out that for Nigeria to excel, it should give youths the right education.

He argued that the education given to the youths today determines the country’s future. Given the various challenges the educational sector faces, Agabi nonetheless expressed optimism that the country will overcome economic downturn. But to do so, it will have to encourage and teach youths to be entrepreneurs.​

“We must ‘entrepreneur’ the nation. We must pay attention to our rural area; we have destroyed the village as a cultural institution. The nation is not self-reliant. No nation without self-reliance can be self-disciplined,” Agabi. “The youths are not self-employed because we are not giving them the right education. If we are going to be a self-reliant nation, we must shut our borders, begin to produce and use our own produce.”

For Agabi, education is the pinnacle of nation-building, and this he saw in Wike for his commitment to ensuring that Rivers youths embrace education through his government’s Education Scholarship Scheme.​

“Governor Nyesom Wike is a blessing to the nation. By your service, you are a blessing not just to this generation but to the future.”

He also applauded Odili for his initiative in birthing the medical institution.

“The education you have provided for our young people will assure the future yet unborn,” he said.

Wike, represented by the Commissioner for Education, Prof Prince Mmon, described PAMO as a priceless gift to Rivers, Nigeria and the world. He reiterated the state government’s support for other universities in the state established by a Rivers person.

“PAMO is a kind of university that is believed will transform the lives of our children and bring development to the state. We shall continue to support the university. We have also renewed the scholarship for Rivers state students, including those from poor backgrounds,” the governor said as he pledged the donation of N500 million to the institution.

Nestled in a serene environment in Rivers, PAMO has always been dedicated to building healthcare workers, including medical doctors, nurses and other allied courses. Well-equipped and furnished to world standard, the university has played a key role in nation-building by moulding the teeming youth population through its teaching, research and community services.

The full accreditation of the school’s courses and programmes by medical and health professional bodies, including the National Universities Commission (NUC), Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Medical Laboratory Council, among others has turned it to a first choice for parents who want their children to have not just sound medical education but to graduate in record time.

The institution’s strength lies in its teaching hospital, established by its founder, Odili, a renowned medical doctor. He established PAMO Clinics and Hospitals Group in the 1980s.​

The hospital has been at the forefront of providing high-class medical care and services to residents and visitors to Rivers for nearly 40 years. Over the years, it has provided high-quality medical treatment and health promotion services spanning internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics to individuals, families and corporate organisations spanning sectors such as energy, oil and gas, power, agriculture and construction.

Besides, the school has a memorandum of understanding with the Rivers State government and State University Teaching Hospital, where its students visit for clinical training before the completion of the building of its teaching hospital.

Thus, students have been gaining medical knowledge and experience from the onset, unlike other universities where students are not exposed to hospital experience until they are at the 400 level.

Since its establishment, the university has not only maintained its high standards, which it started with but has ensured that all the promises of infrastructure—basic and educational—are top-notch. Known for its unrivalled level of discipline and quality of learning, PUMS has been adjudged one of the country’s best universities in the field of medical education.​

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