The American University of Barbados (AUB) School of Medicine has given the assurance that it has not abandoned plans to establish a free clinic here.
Associate Dean Dr Sam Suhail told Barbados TODAY although discussions were still ongoing, “realistically one year from now” work should start on the facility to be established at the institution’s Silver Sands, Christ Church location.
In fact, Dr Suhail said an “informal okay” had already been received from the Ministry of Health, but the AUB was awaiting “formal documentation that allows us to go ahead and do this”.
He promised that the clinic would treat a range of health issues and would be accessible to residents of the community and the country on a whole, as well as provide early exposure to medical students.
“So in this respect the clinic will be a key milestone for students who need exposure early on in their education career, to begin to see patients and to become better doctors in the future,” the Associate Dean said.
The university first announced plans for the free clinic in August 2014, but there has been no movement since. Dr Suhail explained that the delay was due mainly to the need for due diligence and to ensure the best team was in place to provide the highest quality care possible.
“We need to make sure that we have the doctors that are both doctors and teachers in the clinic and this makes it a little bit more [difficult] for us to reach [our goal]. But it is in the stages for us to reach that goal,” he said.
The AUB official could not immediately say how much was being invested in the free clinic, however he said discussions were ongoing with the Ministry of Health “in terms of what needs to be done”, as well as the Town and Country Planning Department and the Ministry of Education.
“We have drawn the blueprints for it already and progressively we are expecting to have it [the infrastructure] increased . . . over time. But the most important thing is getting the required approvals and I hope that the Government of Barbados will work with us to facilitate this in a faster manner in terms of giving access to the public here in Barbados.
“It is important that we do comply to make sure that the emphasis is on quality care and making sure of course that we operate within the bounds of all legalities and all recognition within the country of Barbados,” he added.
Dr Suhail spoke to Barbados TODAY this morning at the institution’s 2016 spring semester orientation for just over two dozen new students, most of whom came from India.
During his address to the students, the interim Dean said the institution was in the process of redesigning its curriculum “to address key developments in academia”.
“As of last semester, September 2015, we began a redesigned curriculum, which includes problem-based learning, among other things.
“The initiative of the problem-based learning sessions was meant to be a progressive step towards a fully integrated curriculum in the coming year,” he said. (MM)