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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

IMTU: Nurturing intellect to serve humanity better

18th February 2012

Since its establishment in 1995 the International Medical Institute (IMTU) has made significant reforms in the academic and administrative operations. The institute has managed to improve education service delivery with the view to produce competent graduates who could compete in both national and foreign labour markets.

Apart from producing 500 graduate doctors, whose professional performance is widely acclaimed both inside and outside the country, the International Medical Institute (IMTU), the college has last year scoped prestigious recognition.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized doctors trained by IMTU, classifying them as able to would work anywhere in the world.

IMTU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Shija has said recognition of doctors by the world health organization, resulted from improved training programmes for doctors and other medical professionals, noting that the government should expect more doctors and specialists from IMTU.

“WHO has criteria to recognize doctors who have required qualifications to work everywhere around the world. After looking at the academic structures and settings here at IMTU and become satisfied, the organization, on June 2011, decided to recognize our doctors, saying they have professional competencies, qualities, and qualifications to work anywhere in any country in the world,” stressed Prof. Shija.

He explained that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare played an instrumental role in helping IMTU secure international recognition, and improving academic performance of producing graduates at the college. “

“The government, several times, had been recognizing the contribution of IMTU in the production of competent medical professionals for the improvement of the country’s health sector—doctors, nurses,” said Shija, noting that “we pledge to continue producing more qualified medical professionals, with competencies which allow them fetch lucrative markets in both national and international labour markets,” said the college vice-chancellor.

Because of reforms and transformation initiatives currently going on at the college, IMTU has managed to upgrade status of some of the lectures to the Professors’ level, and that the institution has six lecturers who are professors.

International Medical and Technological University (IMTU), recognized and approved by the Government of Tanzania, incorporates a fine balance of creativity, theory and practical skills.

IMTU offers in-depth graduate courses in Medicine and very shortly in Nursing and Dental Sciences. The future plans include Courses in Technology and Management.

The University offers conducive environment, ideal for bringing out the very best in a student while fostering a climate of learning, social tolerance and equality.

“The highly qualified faculty is committed to the investigation and promotion of new ideas while imparting high standards of instruction, encouraging the students to explore and analyze the latest in research findings and add to them,” according to Shija, observing that “the staff focuses on evolving the ‘Complete Individual’.

IMTU believes in gently nurturing the intellect to serve the humanity. His Excellency I K Gujral, the Prime Minister of India, inaugurated the College of Medicine of International Medical and Technological University at Dar es Salaam.”

IMTU is the pride of India in Tanzania and a shining example of South- South concept of development. It is the first institution to prove that South-South can play a constructive and creative role in the process of furthering Medical & Technological education within the South countries, says Shija.

“In selecting new means to achieve a wider and more equitable spread of scientific knowledge and technologies, IMTU is a path blazer. This venture symbolizes the friendship between India and Tanzania and the common commitment to the ideal of South – South Cooperation,” he said.

“Despite having experience some ‘turbulence’ towards the end of the 2010/2011 academic year, our institution has remained steady and continue to navigate towards further growth and expansion of its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, “ he went on saying

Profesa Shija said in the 2011/2012 academic year IMTU will be running some eleven academic programmes including the pre-medicine course certificate.

“Our particular interest is the expected launching of postgraduate diploma programme in palliative Medicine in March this year which is being established at IMTU in collaboration with the African palliative care Association APCA and the Tanzania Palliative Care Association TPCA,” Says Profesa Shija

“The establishment of this University therefore, in a small but significant way, represents the fulfillment of the aspirations and demonstrates the viability of South – South Cooperation,” Chairman of Vignan Education Foundation VEF and IMTU, Katuri Subbarao, said.

“The real wealth of a nation is in her people, in the educational excellence and the personal health and well being of her people. The Health of people is the real foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend”.

He said that there is nothing education cannot do; nothing is above its reach, observing that “It can turn bad morals to good. It can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones. It can make men and women into angels”.

Vignan Educational Foundation firmly believes in the above truths and proceeds head on in its achievements, with them as background guiding principles. In pursuit of such belief is the creation of IMTU in Dar-Es-Salaam.

He says the main vision of VEF through IMTU is to create a strong force of physicians to fight against and prevent diseases and provide quality care for patients and people of Tanzania .

“Physicians diagnose, practice, inform, prevent and when necessary perform surgery and heal the pain. Physicians care our patients and care about them when they are most vulnerable. Any country’s health care system could not work without physicians any more than schools could function without teachers. This is true of hospitals as well,” he said.

The IMTU college was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Honourable Mr. I.K. Gujral on 17th September, 1995. Already seventy doctors have passed out of the College and doing well in their profession. Presently the College offers only M.B.B.S. Course equivalent to the M.D. Course of Tanzania . Short courses for Laboratory Technicians, Pharmacy Technicians and Premedical Courses.

It also offers post graduate courses in Internal Medicine, Anatomy, Physiology, Surgery, Ophthalmology and Pediatrics. Others are Fellowship courses in certain super specialties are.

“Our mission is to prepare students through regular professional courses in the fields of medical and allied sciences for the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)…with the vision to be centre of excellence of medical and health knowledge advancement, expansion, transmission and enhancement through training, research, outreach and public service,” said IMTU Chairman Srinivasa Rao.

He says the Owner of the university is Shri katuri Subba Rao the Founder of the Vignan Educational Foundation VEF. The VEF of Bangalore, India initiated the establishment of the university in Tanznaia at the behest of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

The seed venture were sworn by Benjamin Mkapa the third president of Tanzania with the support of current president Jakaya Kikwete when he was the Minister for Foreign Affaris and International cooperation. (end)

Manageable challenges, according to Profesa Joseph Shija is to increase number of professors as they are six professors currently.

Other challenges of the college according to him is to increase the number of rooms for both girls and boys hostels which is very limited at the moment.

Among the challenges the college went threw last year, was students strike demanding college fees to be paid in T shillings but after negotiation (IMTU) finally signed an agreement requiring it to among other conditions quote and charge University fees in Tanzanian shillings and not in dollars as it was the case before.

The agreement was also signed last October by the IMTU’s students’ organization (IMTUSO), the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU), Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) and Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.

The mediation was led by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Vocational training and involved students and university management.

Also brought on board were TCU, HESLB and the president’s office.

The agreement is a road map to resolving the long standoff which had culminated into a two-month boycott.

In an interview with this paper, president of the University students’ leadership (IMTUSO) Yared Birage Chacha said the ministry’s efforts had succeeded in restoring students’ confidence and trust in the government and everything now is okay.

He challenged other private universities and institutions facing similar problems to emulate their formula of solving problems.

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