The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. D. D. Kuupole has noted that understanding the health needs of rural communities form an integral part of the training of medical students at the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS).
Prof. Kuupole explained that UCCSMS through the Community Based Experience Service Programme (COBES) enjoins the medical students to experience rural life and also assess the factors that affect the health of the people in order to find solutions to them.
The Vice-Chancellor made this statement at a durbar held by the Paramount Chief of Assin Owirenkyi Traditional Area, Nana Prah Agyeinsam VI in honour of level 200 UCCSMS students who were undertaking COBES at Assin Kushea. He commended Nana Agyeinsam VI for his continuous support to UCC saying “Nana has been a long standing partner of UCC and we are grateful to him and his brother, Dr. (Sir) Sam Jonah for their keen interest in the development of the University.”
He assured Nana Agyeinsam VI and the community that UCC would soon establish a permanent COBES site at Assin Kushea for people from other satellite villages to benefit from the services of the medical students. He, therefore, thanked Nana for releasing land for the construction of accommodation facilities for the COBES programme at Assin Kushea. He appealed to the community to be receptive to the medical students and teach them the tradition and cultural values of the community.
In an exclusive interview, the Coordinator of COBES, Dr. Sebastian Eliason said the level 200 students would spend four weeks in Assin Kushea to examine the “Influence of socio-cultural, socio-economic and environmental factors affecting health.” He explained that with the assistance of the lecturers, the medical students would examine the population structure, leadership, governance, culture, environmental issues, nutrition and health seeking behaviours of the people during their stay in the community. He indicated that the students will hold a dissemination durbar with the people to discuss the findings and also offer health education to them. He also said the level 200 students would be carrying out their COBES programme at Assin Kushea every academic year till level 500 when they begin their clinicals.
COBES forms the central theme of the medical curriculum of UCCSMS and it is aimed at offering the medical students strong community orientation and to increase their awareness of the interrelationship between lifestyle and health. The programme is also intended to position them to play good advocacy roles as leaders and health providers within the communities they work.
Present at the durbar were the Provost, College of Health and Allied Sciences (CoHAS), Rev. (Prof.) Harold Amonoo-Kuofi; Provost, College of Distance Education, Prof. John Nelson Buah; Dean, School of Medical Sciences, Prof. Francis Offei. Others were Head, Department of Mathematics and Science Education (CoDE), Prof. Isaac Galyuon and College Registrar of CoHAS, Mr. Joseph Gordon Mensah.