The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) is set to challenge a recent ruling by Justice Musa Ssekaana of the High Court that mandated UMDPC to assign internship placements for 135 King Caesar University graduates.
Justice Ssekaana declared that, according to information from the Attorney General, UMDPC lacked authority, as per Section 20 of its act, to conduct pre-registration examinations.
The court order nullified UMDPC’s decision to exclude King Caesar University’s medical students from the national internship program.
In addition to overturning the decision, Justice Ssekaana issued a declaratory order affirming the right of duly completed Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery students from King Caesar University to participate in the internship program.
UMDPC, established by an act of parliament, holds the primary responsibility of overseeing the education and training of medical and dental doctors in Uganda, ensuring global registration and facilitating monitoring during their professional activities.
King Caesar University contested UMDPC’s decision in court, asserting that the denial of internship placements was based on allegations of not meeting required medical practice standards.
Professor Joel Akullo Odom, the council’s chairperson, stressed during a press briefing that their role involves monitoring curricula to produce qualified professionals aligned with the nation’s needs. He highlighted close coordination with the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and other East African Community countries.
According to Professor Akullo, a 2020 inspection revealed King Caesar University’s inadequacy in infrastructure and teaching standards, leading to the recommendation to stop admitting students. He cited instances of incomplete training and students entering with falsified documents, posing risks to patients if allowed to practice.
The council, led by Professor Akullo, engaged with the University multiple times, securing assurances of compliance with their requirements. Legal guidance was sought from the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, before conducting pre-registration examinations for King Caesar University students.
Dr. Ayub Twaha, President of the Uganda Dentists Association (UDA), emphasized that there are 12 licensed medical schools and four dental schools supervised by the council. He refuted claims of unfair targeting, asserting that uniform assessment tools are applied in inspecting these institutions.
The dispute continues to unfold, highlighting the complexities surrounding medical education and professional oversight in Uganda.