More training for medical students

Reem Leila , Tuesday 9 May 2023

Doctors will receive their university degrees after five years of studying rather than seven, reports Reem Leila

There are 47 medical faculties in Egypt
There are 47 medical faculties in Egypt


The Supreme Council of Universities (SCU) will change the requirements needed to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in medicine and pharmacy to ensure qualified graduates, a step that necessitated amending a law on the organisation of universities.

Five years of academic education and an obligatory two-year internship have replaced the previous six academic years of studying and one-year internship at the Faculty of Medicine. Studying in the five years will be based on the credit hours system.

The SCU also changed the requirements for receiving a BSc in pharmacy to five years of academic study in addition to a mandatory one-year clinical internship.

Mona Al-Sebaai, a professor at the school of medicine in Ain Shams University, emphasised that the curriculum had been altered to guarantee a well-integrated curriculum with early clinical experience. Al-Sebaai said the changes were intended to enhance the traits and skills that holders of a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery should demonstrate.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Higher Education Adel Abdel-Ghaffar said there were 47 medical faculties in Egypt, 27 of them public universities. There are 50 faculties of pharmacy in Egypt’s universities; 24 of them are in public universities.

Each year around 10,000 students graduate from the country’s faculties of medicine while 17,000 others graduate from pharmacy.

“Despite this huge number of graduates we have a shortage due to the growing population and the fact that around 65 per cent of medical graduates work abroad,” he added.

According to Abdel-Ghaffar, the amendment, to be applied starting in the 2023-24 academic year, ensures that medical education is cutting edge and capable of preparing undergraduates to practice in the rapidly evolving field of medical research. “The Covid crisis revealed that there is a huge shortage in the number of qualified physicians and general practitioners who could have helped in such a crisis,” Abdel-Ghaffar said.

Al-Sebaai noted that the amendment will contribute to the development of the medical and surgical system in Egypt where graduates of medical faculties are expected to compete with the international level of graduates around the world.

According to Mahmoud Hegazi, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Ain Shams, the five-year academic arrangement will be divided into three years of basic medical education and two years of clinical education. “The new system is an important step in keeping pace with the global medical system. It provides graduates with a sufficient period of time for clinical training before practicing the profession. The study of medical specialties requires long-term training reflected in the medical services provided to people,” Hegazi said.

Khaled Abu Shanab, vice dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Ain Shams, said that the one year of internship for pharmaceutical students is important to develop their medical information through actual training. It would also enable them to work in harmony with the medical team to know their actual capabilities and to encourage them to seek advice from those who are more experienced.

Abu Shanab said pharmacy students will join high-level training programmes to be taught simple medical tasks such as measuring blood pressure, giving intravenous injections and installing medical cannulas.

“The current law does not allow pharmacists to conduct such simple medical procedures even though they are very important. Therefore, it was essential to change the universities’ organisation law in order to enable pharmacists to train on these simple tasks,” said Abu Shanab, adding that the one-year internship would also train pharmacists on communication, presentation and administrative skills.

“Training pharmacy students before graduation is a very important step that increases the skills of the graduate. It is essential to ensure that students will receive actual training based on scientific standards during the year of internship,” Abu-Shanab said.

A version of this article appears in print in the 11 May, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

Short link: