Three more international students have entered the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme delivered by the School of Medicine, at the National University of Samoa. Among the three students, is the first Australian national to have been accepted into the programme, with the two others coming from the Solomon Islands.
This brings the number of international students studying the MBBS programme at the School of Medicine to six students. The three continuing students hail from Tuvalu (one student) and Cook Islands (two students) and had started their MBBS programme under the former Oceania University of Medicine.
Caption: Vice Chancellor, Professor Fui Lea’apai Tu’ua ‘Ilaoa Te’o Asofou So’o with 3 international students – Justania Haranisoma, Walter Sageraru and Anwar Ahmed
The number of students in the first year of the MBBS program is fourteen, comprised of eleven local students and three international students. This represents a significant growth of nearly 60% from the intake of nine students in 2018 and eight students in 2017. This is in keeping with the School of Medicine’s strategic focus to maintain a 30% increase in student intake annually, and based on the figures, the School has achieved this target for the past two years.
The total student cohort at the School of Medicine’s MBBS programme now stands at fifty four, consisting of forty eight local students and six international students. This is an increase of 27% from 2018 where a total of thirty nine students (thirty seven locals and two internationals) were enrolled in the MBBS Programme.
Seven final year students (including one international student) are expected to complete the programme in December 2019. Another seven are expected to complete the programme in 2020. By the end of year 2020, fourteen additional doctors would be added to the health workforce of Samoa. The School of Medicine would have then graduated 39 doctors from its MBBS programme since it started operation and delivery five years ago in February 2015.
In striving to achieve its mission to provide quality medical education for Samoa and the Pacific region, the School of Medicine continues to actively reach out to prospective students from other pacific island nations.
The academic year 2019 sees the School making swift progress in increasing the number of students enrolled and the quality of its student intake. Three of the eleven local students who were accepted this year are bachelor degree graduates from the National University of Samoa, Monash University in Australia and the University of Otago in New Zealand. With the hope of additional scholarships from the local government and international partnering organizations, the School of Medicine foresees growth in its student population and an expansion of its student market beyond those represented by the current student cohort.
The School of Medicine also continues to build its postgraduate educational opportunities; with its first graduate from the Master of Surgery in Orthopedics being conferred the degree April 2019. The first graduate is an international student from the Solomon Islands, and the two other local students who are currently in their senior year are expected to graduate soon.